Nectarines which are a close relative of the peach originated in China over 2,000 years ago. The Spanish most likely introduced the United States to the nectarine. 95% of the nectarines grown in the United States are grown in California. There are over 150 different varieties of nectarines which come in two main varieties: clingstone and freestone. Commonly grown varieties of the nectarine include: Royal Giant, Harblaze, Summer Grand, and Fantasia. Nectarines are part of the Prunus persica family.
Nectarines can be grown in the home garden; however, they do not produce well in climates where late spring frosts and low winter temperatures are common. When planting nectarine trees, it is important to choose a variety that is bud-hardy that is one year old and about 3 to 4 feet in height. It is also vital to protect the blooms from frost and to ensure that the trees remain insect and disease free.
Nectarines do not require cross pollination which means that a single tree should produce fruit. Plant the tree in well draining soil where it will receive full sunlight and not be shaded in any way. Pruning and training of the branches and selective thinning of the fruit is required to produce the best harvests.
Nectarine Nutritional Values
Serving Size 1/2 cup (69g)
Amounts Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Vitamin A 4%
Vitamin C 6%
Nectarine Health Benefits
Nectarines are a powerful source of antioxidants which fight free radicals in the cells. The antioxidants in nectarines are also converted into Vitamin A in your body.
Nectarines are also a good source of bioflavinoids and carotenoids because of their bright yellow, orange, and red colors. These antioxidants in particular are especially good at fighting cancer and other diseases.
Nectarines are also good sources of Potassium and fiber both of which are important to good health. The fiber found in nectarines plays an important role in cleansing the colon and colon health.
Getting the Most Out of Your Nectarines
Choose nectarines with a smooth red colored skin which are fragrant and that give slightly to the touch. Nectarines may be used in an application that a peach would be used. They may be substituted 1 for 1 in recipes calling for peaches. They do not require peeling and a large portion of the nutritional content is found in and just under the peel.
Nectarines will keep in the crisper of the refrigerator for at least a week when stored in a plastic bag. They are pretty easy to preserve too. Try freezing and canning them to extend the shelf life of the fruit.
Concerns and Cautions
The pit of the nectarine should not be eaten as it contains amygdalin which the body converts into cyanide. Cyanide is a powerful poison that when ingested can result in serious illness and even death. So, don’t eat the pit.