Nectarines are genetically identical to peaches; the primary difference is that nectarines have a minor variation that causes them to have smooth skin, as opposed to a peach’s fuzzy skin. Most varieties have red-and-yellow skins with yellow or white flesh. Nectarines, like peaches, were first cultivated in China, and were also cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. Trade routes took the nectarine through Greece where residents thought nectarine juice was so tantalizing they called it the “drink of gods” or nectar, the word from which nectarine is derived. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Like the peach, it is believed that the Spaniards brought the nectarine to the United States in the 19th century. The modern nectarine industry emerged in California in the 1950’s when fragile older varieties were crossbred with peaches to develop hardier, more flavorful fruit that could be shipped commercially.
Storing & Cooking Information
Nectarines should be washed before eating.
Nectarines not immediately consumed or processed should be stored in a chilled area such as a refrigerator (32 degrees F and high-humidity). It is best to use or process the fruit as quickly as possible since it is highly perishable under high temperatures and not well suited to prolonged cold storage (more than 14 days).