Robin Quay, MS, RD, Sodexo Dietitian
A nectarine is a delicious summer fruit that looks like a peach, but it has a smooth skin instead of a fuzzy skin. In fact, a nectarine is genetically identical to a peach. The only difference is a recessive gene that determines whether or not the skin will be fuzzy.
Nectarines are bred to be smaller, firmer and sweeter than peaches. They are known for their intense flavor and juiciness. They can have yellow or white flesh, and can either be freestone, where the flesh separates readily from the pit, or clingstone, where the flesh clings tightly to the pit.
Nectarines can be used the same way as peaches. Sometimes, it’s advantageous to use nectarines in place of peaches in recipes. Since the skin of the nectarine is smooth, it’s not necessary to peel them for use in items like pies, cobblers and salads.
Nectarines are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, niacin and potassium and a very good source of vitamin C. They contain more vitamin A and potassium than peaches. They are low in calories, containing about 70 calories each, and are fat and sodium free. And of course, they contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. The antioxidants in nectarines are especially beneficial for maintaining healthy skin.
Virginia-grown nectarines are available from July-September.
For more information about nectarines, and for some recipes using them, visit these sites: