Peaches are mostly confused for nectarines and this is quite understandable. Peaches and nectarines are visually similar; the only noticeable feature that tells them apart is the smoothness of the skin of nectarines. The skin of most peaches is not smooth, they contain fuzz. Peaches and nectarines both come from the same parent trees, but mutation has made nectarines different.
Nectarines grow on peach trees; there are no nectarine trees. They are peaches that have been genetically mutated. Nectarines have been around for quite a while, they are not a result of modern-day cross-breeding among fruits and genetic mutation. To reproduce them, you would need to rely on transplanted strains of peach trees.
What do nectarines taste like? Nectarines are similar in taste to peaches, but they are much sweeter, with a more aromatic flavor. The sweet and aromatic flavor of nectarines is accompanied by a soft but firm succulent flesh. The sweetness of nectarines is dependent on how ripe the fruits are, the colors point out the different cultivars and not the taste.
Most people wouldn’t be able to tell nectarines and peaches apart.
Nectarines have skins that people peel off by using a blanching process as you do with tomatoes. It is better to eat the nectarines whole with the skin to get the best nutritional benefit out of the fruit.
Nutritional Benefits of Nectarines
Nectarines are a very good source of basic minerals and nutrients; which are necessary for the improvement of the human body. It contains vitamins C, A, E, and B3. It also plays host to minerals like copper, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
In nectarines, you can find major antioxidant compounds like catechins, ellagic acid, gallic acid, anthocyanins, epicatechins, and neochlorogenic acid. Antioxidants play an important role in the body; they protect cells in the body from free radical damage. They also have anti-cancer properties that can stop the growth and spread of some kinds of cancers.
Nectarines are identical to peaches genetically, so their nutritional profile is similar. Nectarines are a low-fat and low-carb food item. The fats in nectarines are made up of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These kinds of fats are very healthy for the heart, they promote heart health.
They do not serve as a rich source of plant protein as you only have 1.5 grams per serving. Another benefit that nectarines have is that; they have a low glycemic index (GI) of 43. This means that your blood sugar level will not spike when you eat them even if they are sweet.
Nectarines have been known to be able to lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The antioxidants in nectarines can lower cholesterol, lower vascular inflammation, improve blood circulation, and blood pressure.
Nectarines can provide the body with a lot of health benefits, you might be allergic to them. A true allergy to nectarines is not common, but you can have an allergy when you develop Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). This is a phenomenon where the immune system mistakes certain food items for pollen that cause true allergies.
Treatment for an allergy to nectarines is not usually needed because the symptoms abate as soon as you swallow the fruit.
Culinary Uses of Nectarines
You do not need to peel or cook nectarines before you can enjoy them. You can start eating nectarines as soon as you wash them. You can do this by first slicing the fruit, or biting into it like an apple.
Nectarines have a pit in the middle that is not edible, it should be removed and discarded. It might be easy or hard, depending on the type of pit in the nectarines. Apart from enjoying this summer fruit in all of its natural glory, nectarines can be grilled.
You can enjoy grilled nectarines and taste the fruitiness that has been touched by an open fire. All you need to do is slice the nectarines, remove the pits, and place the sliced halves directly on the grill. Nectarines have a firm texture that will hold up in the heat as the sugar in the fruit caramelizes. Grilled nectarines can be served warm with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with honey.
Nectarines can be used for jam and jellies; they also fit right into pies and baked goods. They can be incorporated into desserts and bring more nutritional benefits to a portion of sweet food. Nectarines can also be used in savory dishes, you can chop them and have them integrated into spicy salsa, or to be had with pork chops. You can also use them in salads if you like.
Where are Nectarines Grown? How to Procure Them?
The origin of nectarines can be traced back to China; peaches have been around since the 10th century. Nectarines were first discovered in China and were later cultivated in Rome, Greece, and Persia.
One Chinese emperor coined the term “nectar of the gods” and attributed it to nectarines. By the late 16th and 17th centuries, nectarines were already being cultivated in Great Britain; the cultivation later spread to the Spanish population who introduced it to the United States.
Nectarines are not as common as peaches because they are more susceptible to disease than peaches. They also bloom in a specific season. From July to mid-September, many farmer’s markets will have nectarines in stock.
What Kind of Flavor Does Mango Nectarine Have?
Mango nectarines are believed to be a cross between two old-variety pale nectarines. They are rich and soft like mango fruit. It has a melt-in-your-mouth feel that is accompanied by a honey flavor. The best kind of mango nectarine is one that is just beginning to get soft to the touch.
Facts You Don’t Know About Nectarines
- The scientific name for nectarine is Prunus persica var. Nucipersica.
- Nectarine goes by some funny names like; Bald peach and Smooth-Skinned peach.