Nectarines are a mutation of the peach family that developed naturally and has since been commercialized and propagated by fruit growers. Their flavour and colour are similar but their size is generally smaller than a peach and of course they don’t have fuzzy skin.
How to Buy:
Ripe nectarines should be plump and firm with smooth skin. They will have a sweet, fruity scent. They should give slightly to fingertip pressure, especially along the seam.
Hard nectarines may need to finish ripening. Place them in a paper bag left at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days.
How to Store:
Fresh nectarines will keep in the refrigerator for a week.
Ripe nectarines can be peeled, sliced and frozen in a single layer on a cookie sheet before being transferred to a resealable freezer bag. If you would like to peel them prior to freezing, immerse them in boiling water for a minute and peel off the skin once the fruit is cool enough to handle. The frozen fruit will keep for 6 months.
How to Prepare:
Give nectarines a quick rinse under cool running water just prior to eating.
They are most often eaten raw with the skin, but they are also good sliced as a topping for cereal, yogurt, pancakes or ice cream.
Try nectarines with rice, chicken, fish, in sandwiches, salads or as a base for chutney.
Nectarines will work well in recipes that call for peaches so try them in pies, cakes, crisps, cobblers and puddings.
Nectarines may be frozen or preserved.
Nectarines are a source of Vitamins A and C, and potassium. One medium-sized nectarine has 67 calories.
How They Are Grown:
Nectarines are grown, harvested and processed the same way peaches are in Canada. However, peach production makes up almost 3% of commercial Canadian fruit production while nectarines account for less than 0.5%.
Ripe nectarines are handpicked from the trees to prevent bruising and damage. Not all the fruit on a tree will ripen at the same time and so workers will harvest the tree multiple times over the course of a few weeks each season.
Canadian crop is available: July mid-September
Grown in: The southern interior of British Columbia and southern Ontario.