Nectarines are similar to peaches, but the good thing is that they have a smooth skin not like the peaches which have a velvety skin. Nectarines are mostly eaten with the skin as peaches are mostly peeled. It is also sweeter and more nutritious than peaches.
Health Benefits of Nectarine:
- Nectarine contains good amount of beta carotene, an antioxidant that help protect against cancer and other diseases by reducing the cellular damage that occurs when the body burns oxygen.
- Nectarines are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps control blood cholesterol levels. The skin contains insoluble fiber, which helps prevent constipation.
- Nectarine is also good source of lycopene and lutein. These phytochemicals are especially beneficial in the prevention of heart disease, macular degeneration, and cancer.
Nutrient Content of Nectarine: 1 medium size
- Vitamin A: 800 I.U.
- Vitamin C: 8mg
- Potassium: 150mg
- Fiber: 2g
- Calories: 60
- Nectarine has no cholesterol, fat and sodium
Nectarine Varieties: The most common nectarine variety in North America is the freestone. Among the numerous hybrids, about ten varieties are widely grown for market, including the Sun Grand, available in midsummer, and the late-season September Grand.
How to Buy Nectarine:
- Nectarines only ripen well on the tree so don’t buy nectarines that are hard or have a greenish skin. These were harvested too early; even though they will soften, they will never achieve peak sweetness and flavor.
- Select nectarine that is moderately firm but not hard and with bright deep color. The fruit is ready to eat when the flesh yields to gentle pressure and has a sweet, fruity fragrance.
- Avoid fruit with wrinkled, cracked skin and spots that show evidence of decay.
- To ripen firm nectarines, place them in a paper bag and store at room temperature; they should achieve full ripeness in 2 or 3 days.
How to Prepare Nectarine:
Cutting or peeling a nectarine releases an enzyme that causes a darkening of the flesh. The fruit may look less appetizing, but the browning doesn’t alter its flavor or nutritional value. The discoloring can be slowed by immediately dipping the fruit in an acidic solution (for example, a teaspoon of vinegar diluted in a cup of water) or tossing sliced nectarines with a little lemon juice or lime juice.
Side Effects of Nectarine:
Nectarine pits contain amygdalin, a compound that is converted to cyanide in the stomach. There is no danger in the accidental swallowing of one nectarine pit or even a habit of chewing on one or two, but eating more than that could actually result in cyanide poisoning.