Nectarines are the May Harvest of the Month, and this fruit’s peak season is just a few days before May starts. Nectarines are a close relative of the peach. Unlike peaches, nectarines have a smooth outer skin, making them an excellent alternative for people sensitive to a peach’s unique and fuzzy texture.
Much like apples, nectarines come in many varieties. Mango nectarines, for example (you guessed it!) are the color of mangoes. Other varieties include the Zee Fire, Honey Fire and the donut nectarine–no relation to actual donuts.
During the month of May you may find nectarines used more abundantly in a variety of recipes from our cafeterias.
Did You Know?
- It is commonly and incorrectly believed that a nectarine is a cross between a peach and a plum.
- The word “nectarine” means sweet as nectar.
- Nectarines have more vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium than peaches.
Try These Delicious Recipes
How to Buy and Store: Nectarines can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. They are easily eaten in-hand (like an apple) until you reach the pit of the fruit. Nectarines can also be substituted for peaches in desserts like peach cobbler and peach pie. They are oftentimes grilled and served with soft cheeses like ricotta or goat cheese. When shopping for nectarines look for ones that are medium to large in size and are free of bruises and blemishes. You also want to avoid wrinkled skin. And if your nectarines aren’t quite ripe enough, put them in a paper bag and store at room temperature to speed up the ripening process.
Making it Kid-Friendly: Nectarines are sweet and likely to be easily accepted by children. However, nectarines are also stone fruits, which mean that have a large pit at their center. When serving nectarines to small children it is best to serve them sliced. This prevents children from having access to the pit, which could be considered a choking hazard. Consider utilizing nectarines in a homemade fruit cocktail or fruit salad. Making fruit cocktail at home is a great way to cut back on the amount of added sugar that is typically found in store bought fruit cocktail.
Nutrition and Health Benefits: Nectarines get their orange color from a plant chemical called beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps to rid the body of environmental pollutants. It is important for maintaining good vision and healthy skin integrity. Nectarines also contain fiber. The outer skin of the fruit contains insoluble fiber while the juicy inside contains soluble fiber. Both kinds are essential to promoting a healthy gut and maintaining a healthy microbiome. Additionally, a diet rich in fiber can help reduce total cholesterol levels as well as LDL (bad) cholesterol. This makes nectarines an excellent choice for individuals trying to follow a heart healthy diet.
|Calories: 62||Vitamin C: 8mg|
|Total Fat: 0g||Fiber: 3g|
|Total Carbohydrate: 15g||Niacin: 1.6mg|
|Protein: 2g||Magnesium: 13mg|
|Choline: 8.8mg||Vitamin A: 471IU|