Nectarines are similar to peaches in size and shape. The smooth skin of the yellow variety has red, pink, and yellow highlights and the white variety has mostly reddish-pink tones. Both varieties are highly fragrant and their flesh is soft and dissolves easily in the mouth. The flavor of a white nectarine is more subdued than the yellow since they are less acidic. The yellow nectarine’s flavor is bright and sweet. The pit is inedible in both varieties. Don’t even try eating the pits of either variety the sour taste comes from its high levels of toxic hydrogen cyanide. When selecting them, avoid bruised or punctured ones; they are more susceptible to bruising since they have no fuzz like their peachy cousins. If the stem end is still green, the nectarine is not yet ripe. Leave at room temp and they should ripen in a few days.
It’s summertime! And your next barbecue is bound to be a hit with this great side dish. Nectarines can be used in any recipe that calls for peaches. Eating them right out of the hand is the most popular way to enjoy, but you can also make desserts, jellies, and syrups from this fruit.
Nectarines are available year-round and the peak during the domestic season of late spring into summer. California provides over 90 percent of the production between May to November, with Washington taking care of the rest. From November to April, Chile is our importer of choice. Although, China is the world’s largest producer followed by some European countries. The US comes in third.
Do not store nectarines in the fridge until they are fully ripe. Any earlier, they will lose their flavor and juiciness. After they’re ripe, place in the crisper drawer and they should hold for up to a week. For cut pieces, place them in an air-tight container or tightly wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, and you’ll get about three days out of them.