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What is it?

This sweet, juicy stone fruit is closely related to the peach. In fact, it is actually the same species as a peach, but a different cultivar that has smooth instead of fuzzy skin. They also tend to be a bit smaller and firmer than their fuzzy relatives. Like peaches, nectarines are available with either yellow or white flesh.

When ripe, nectarines are golden yellow with blushes of red. Though nectarines are in season from mid-spring through late summer, they’re at their peak during July and August.

Don’t have it?

You can use peaches and nectarines interchangeably in most recipes.

How to choose:

Choose nectarines that are rosy, fragrant, and that give slightly to the touch. Avoid bruised or blemished fruit, as well as those that are hard or very green, these might spoil before fully ripen.

How to prep:

When preparing nectarines for cooking, the trick is to remove the skin while keeping as much flesh as you can. The best way to do this is to quickly blanch the nectarines before peeling.

To blanch: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water heats, cut an X into the bottom of each nectarine. Drop the nectarines into the boiling water and cook just until the skin begins to loosen, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain the nectarines and then plunge them into cold water to stop them from cooking further. The peel should slip right off.

To slice a nectarine: run a small knife from stem to tip, cutting right through to the pit. Turn the fruit in your hand, making one cut after another and let the slices fall into a bowl. Once exposed to the air, nectarine flesh tends to turn brown quickly. To keep the color bright, sprinkle the slices with a bit of lemon juice.


How to store:

Underripe nectarines will in ripen in a few days at room temperature—you can speed up this process by storing them loosely in a paper bag.

Ripe nectarines will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.


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