Ask people what are the fruis of summer and they'll probably mention strawberries, and blueberries, definitely peaches. Yet another summer harvest is coming in right now Nectarines are also ripening. These wonderful fruits are a nice change from the usual fare and work well in many recipes.
What is a nectarine? A peach without the fuzz.The Chinese first planted them over 2,000 years ago and then the seeds were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome, They were popular during the medieval era , growing in England and Spain. The Spanish brought them over to the Americas in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries. Nowadays California is their chief grower, with 95 percent of all nectarine harvests coming from there. Some peach seeds may turn out to be nectarine trees and vice versa.Many growers graft nectarine branches onto peach trees to guarantee a crop of then. The fruit's name means full of nectar.It's the perfect dessert or snack for dieters. Each piece of fruit only has sixty two calories. Surprisingly it's one of the few fruits that has protein in it as well.. Nectarines are also high in Vitamin A and beta carotene (hence the bright yellow flesh).It also has Vitamin,C, potassium and most importantly fiber.The fruit can be kept out for two to three days before they develop brown spots. As with other fruits, nectarines are better stored in the fridge Besides nothing beats the taste of a chilled one on a sweltering day.
Since they're basically peaches, nectarines can be made into the same dishes as peaches. Try them in a cobbler laced with brown sugar.They'd also be tasty in a crisp, either made with oatmeal or Bisquick. A more elegant dessert is a nectarine tart with a hazelnut crust.The fruit works well in cakes too. Try a buttery scratch one laden with slices and a hint of nutmeg.Fruit can be roasted over the grill so why not roasted some nectarines along with plums and peaches. Top the hot fruit with vanilla ice cream for a truly decadent summertime dessert.Another fun dessert idea is trifle with the fruit layered with store bought yellow cake or pound cake and whipped cream. You could even douse it with peach schnapps for a boozy, fun way to end an evening. You could also turn the fruit into a homemade nectarine liqueur. This last is just taking a pound of the nectarines and letting that ferment with three cups of vodka and a cup of sugar. The process takes about three months then before the drink is ready so it will make a nice addition to fall drinking and dining.Nectarines can also be cubed and used in salads for color and sweetness. Add them to a grilled chicken salad along with almonds. It can also be pulverized and added to apple cider vinegar for a sweet dressing or even marinade.
Make nectarines part of your summer diet. They are a sweet, healthy treat on their own along with being wonderful in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Get a basket of them at your local market or farm stand.