Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Nectarines from
the Barren County Farmers' Market

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

The nectarine is thought to have originated as a mutant of the peach. In the 19th century, there was a proposal to separate the peach and nectarine into two species but this was given up because of overwhelming evidence that the nectarine is a form of peach, even though a very distinctive one.

The history of the nectarine runs parallel to that of the peach which appears to have originated in China. Assuming this to be true, nectarines reached Persia from China, then were carried to Greece and Rome and spread into the temperate parts of Europe. The Spaniards are believed to have brought peach seeds and trees for planting to America on the second, third or both voyages of Columbus. By 1571 three types of peach were growing in Mexico.

Plant breeders have spent a great deal of time and effort achieving the modern varieties of nectarines. They have increased their size, their skin color has been deepened and changed from a faint blush on a greenish background to the gold and crimson colors now familiar to most people today. Many varieties are freestones like peaches. Genetically, there is not much difference between the two. The main difference is that a peach has fuzz on its skin while a nectarine does not. A nectarine is a peach with a shave and haircut.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Selecting a quality product

There are many different varieties of Nectarines grown today, but they are most often sold by the color of their flesh, either white or yellow. A white Nectarine has a flavor similar to the yellow Nectarine but is slightly sweeter and delicate tasting, due to the lower acid to sugar ratio. The flesh is white and juicy.

Tips on Storage

Look for fruit with a sweet smell and those without bruises or greenish areas. You want a well-rounded fruit with a deep yellow or orange-yellow color under a red blushed skin.

Ripe fruit should give a little when slight pressure is applied. Like peaches, they will never get any riper than they were when they were picked. Although they will not get riper, they will get softer so if you have some that are hard, store them at room temperature in a paper bag. The best tasting nectarines will be ones that you get locally, that have been picked when ripe and full of taste.

Tips on Preparation

The skin on nectarines does not need to be peeled. It will not interfere with its taste or texture when eating them fresh or cooked. Freestone nectarine pits are easily removed by making a cut along the seam all the way around and through the fruit down to the pit. Then twist each half in opposite directions. After separating the halves, you will be able to easily remove the pit from one of the halves. The pit of the clingstone nectarine is a little harder to remove. It is best to cut off slices from the fruit by slicing down to the pit. To retard oxidation - or browning - use lemon juice as you would on apples or peaches.


Nectarine Oat Muffins

Yield: 20 Servings

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 nectarines; chopped
3 tsp orange zest
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir until blended. Spoon batter into small non-stick muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes.

Fresh Nectarine Salsa

Yield: 4 Servings

3/4 lb nectarines*
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice; fresh
1 1/2 tsp red onion; chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh coriander or flat leafed parsley leaves; chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

*Note: 4 nectarines weigh about 3/4 pound.

Dice nectarines (leave peel on the fruit). Transfer diced fruit to a non-metal bowl. Squeeze 1-1/2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon and add with onion, coriander and cumin. Season with up to 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of cayenne.

Nectarine And Ham Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Salt to taste
12 oz cooked ham, cut in julienne strips
4 cups torn spinach, packed
2 cups sliced nectarines, peaches or plums

Mix oil, vinegar, ginger and salt in salad bowl. Add ham, fruit, and spinach. Toss and serve.

Sirloin Steak Nectarine Sukiyaki

2 lbs sirloin steak
2 lg onions
8 green onions
1/4 lb mushrooms
1 can (5oz) bamboo shoots
4 fresh nectarines
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup condensed beef broth
Hot cooked rice

Cut steak crosswise into thin slices, saving fat. Cut onions into thin wedges; slice green onions, including tops, into 2" lengths. Slice bamboo shoots & mushrooms. Slice nectarines to make 2 cups. Grease skillet by rendering steak fat. Remove fat; brown beef quickly. Add sliced vegetables. Combine soy sauce, sugar & broth; add to meat along with nectarines. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

Chicken-Nectarine Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

2 tbsps mayonnaise
2 tbsps chutney
1 tbsp dijon-style mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp mild or hot curry powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 oz skinless cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 1/2 oz jarlsberg cheese cubed or other suitable cheese
2 sm nectarines, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped scallions
2 md green bell peppers, halved and seeded
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, chutney, Dijon mustard, vinegar, curry powder, salt and black pepper.

In medium bowl, combine chicken, cheese, nectarines and scallions. Add mayonnaise mixture to chicken mixture, tossing well to coat thoroughly.

Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture into each green pepper half; serve sprinkled with parsley.

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