- Prunus persica variety nectarina
A nectarine is a fuzzless variety of peach. It is NOT
a cross between a peach and a plum. Fuzziness is a dominant
trait of peaches. Occasionally when peach trees are
cross or even self pollinated they will produce some
fruit whose seeds will grow into nectarine trees and
others which will be peach trees. Nectarines will sometimes
appear on peach trees, and peaches sometimes appear
on nectarine trees! It is impossible to tell which seeds
from nectarine trees will produce nectarine bearing
trees, so commercial growers take branches which produce
nectarines and graft them onto peach trees. The branches
will continue to produce nectarines.
appearance, nectarine trees are the same as peach trees,
and are virtually indistinguishable from one another.
Tree size and shape, leaves, and even buds look the
same. Nectarines, however, are smaller and smooth skinned
(looking more like plums), golden yellow with large
blushes of red (ripe fruit looks the same as unripe
- the color does not change significantly, but they
do get sweeter and softer). Their yellow flesh has a
noticeable pink tinge, with a distinct aroma and a more
pronounced flavor. There are over 100 varieties of nectarine,
both freestone and clingstone varieties, the same as
for peaches. (Freestones flesh separates from the pit'
easily, while clingstones cling to the pit').
Nectarines are more delicate than peaches, bruising
Nectarines, like peaches, probably originated in China
over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient
Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain
in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced
to America by the Spanish.
word nectarine' means sweet as nectar, and this
is very likely the obvious origin of the name.
California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced
in the United States.
Nectarines are cultivated the same as peaches, and are
generally available from June to late September. The
yield from trees is significantly reduced during the
harvesting, handling and shipping because of their tender
Purchasing, Handling & Storage:
Ripe nectarines vary in color from greenish yellow to
mostly reddish with yellow background. Do not choose
the redder ones thinking they are more ripe. Ripe fruit
are fragrant and give, slightly, to the touch. If they
are a little under-ripe, leave them at room temperature
for 2 - 3 days to ripen.
Avoid fruit soft spots, wrinkled or punctured skin.
Nectarines will keep in the coldest part of your refrigerator
for five days at most. Store in a plastic bag.
Nectarines can be eaten out of hand just like peaches,
and can be used in any way you would peaches.
They are low in calories (and like most fruit - no sodium
or cholesterol). They are a good source of vitamins
A and C, beta-carotene and potassium.
article is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.
is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed
computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's
Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel
(both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville,
Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North
is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant
in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia
(five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit
to James' food reference website which is a useful resource
well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just
click on their title:
Food Reference Website
Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida
James T. Ehler, 2001
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