The nectarine resembles the peach and belongs to the same family. Both freestone and clingstone varieties of nectarines are sold under the same name.
The nectarine is distinguished from the peach by its smooth and more colorful skin and its slightly tastier flesh. Its white or yellow flesh is firm, juicy, sweet and slightly tart.
Choose perfumed nectarines that are not too hard, and have no spots, cracks or bruises.
Avoid fruit with a green tinge.
Handle nectarines carefully, as they become damaged easily. Do not store them piled up on each other and wash only before using.
At Room Temperature: a few days. Place nectarines in a paper bag to accelerate ripening.
In The Fridge: extended keeping time. For more flavor, let stand at room temperature for a while before eating.
In The Freezer: pitted, blanched and peeled. When the fruit is very ripe, freeze as a compote or purée. Add lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Nectarines can be preserved.
To prevent nectarine flesh from oxidizing, eat immediately or sprinkle with lemon or lime juice, wine, vinegar or vinaigrette, depending on how it is going to be used.
It isn’t necessary to peel nectarines, but if this is preferred, plunge them for about 1 minute in boiling water, then coo in cold water to stop the effect of the heat, without letting the soak.
SERVING IDEAS FOR NECTARINES
Nectarines are excellent plain. They can be cooked, dried, preserved, candied or frozen.
They are prepared in the same way as peaches, which they can replace in most recipes.
They are used in pies, fruit salads, cakes, yogurt, ice cream, sorbets and crepes. They are made into jam, jelly, marmalade, juice and liqueur.
Did you know that nectarines are a good source of potassium and contain vitamins A and C?
(Information taken from a culinary textbook, “The Visual Food Lover’s Guide”)