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How to Select and Store Nectarines

When you think of nectarines, do you think of Chile?  Well, if it’s wintertime, you should! The nectarines that you see in your local market from January – March come from Chile, which is in the heart of it’s summer during our winter.

Nectarines have a long, long history, originating in China more than 2,000 years ago.  The nectarine and the peach are so similar that there is only one gene that separates the two to make them distinct. The nectarine has one recessive gene … the one with the fuzz. So, you could essentially call the nectarine a fuzzless peach!   Nectarines are also more delicate than peaches and bruise more easily, so handle with care!

How to Select Nectarines:

To pick ripe nectarines, look for slightly firm but not too hard fruits that have a sweet nectar aroma. Avoid any that are bruised, cut, or have a green colouring near the stem.

Nectarines range in colour and can be anywhere from a light yellow and cream to a reddish-yellow. The blush or colour of a nectarine does not indicate ripeness, but is a way of identifying the variety. Look them over thoroughly for soft spots or bruises.

How to Store Nectarines:

To ripen nectarines, place them in a paper bag, poke a few holes in the bag and leave them on your kitchen counter (at room temperature) for a few days.  If you really want to speed up the process, add an apple to the bag.

Never refrigerate nectarines, especially before they’re fully ripe. Chilling them before they’re ripe results in mealy, flavorless fruit. Instead, leave them on your counter at room temperature. Want to speed up the ripening process of your nectarines?  Place them in a paper bag and store loosely at room temperature. Once ripe, nectarines will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

How to Freeze Nectarines:

When you buy a ton of nectarines, take advantage their abundance abundance and freeze fresh nectarines so you may enjoy them at a later time! You can freeze nectarines sliced, crushed, or puréed, but you need to preserve them with some sugar or syrup in order to keep the fruit from oxidizing or drying out in the freezer. Check out the National Center for Home Food Preparation for details on this page.


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