Nectarine

Nectarine

The nectarine fruit is a variety of the peach tree. The botanical name of the nectarine is P. persica var. nucipersica while the botanical name of the peach is P. persica. Nectarines and peaches are similar in appearance and color as they differ only by a single gene, the gene for skin texture. Peaches are fuzzy and dull, while nectarines are shiny and smooth. Nectarines can range in color from red, pink, yellow or white.

The peach and nectarine trees or shrubs grow upto 5 x 5 m. It is self pollinative and has an impressive blossoming.
Darwin (1731-1802) noticed that peach trees spontaneously produced nectarines and that this also happens the other way around. He even describes a tree that produced a fruit that was half peach half nectarine and later fell back producing peaches.

Nectarines, like peaches, most likely originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish. Today, California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States.

Nectarines are smaller and smooth skinned golden yellow with large blushes of red. Their yellow flesh has a noticeable pink tinge, with a distinct aroma and a more pronounced flavor. There are more than 100 varieties of nectarine, in freestone and clingstone varieties. In freestone types the flesh separates from the 'pit' easily, while clingstone types cling to the 'pit.' Nectarines are more delicate than peaches and bruise very easily.

Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C and low in calories with no sodium or cholesterol.

Storage
Nectarines keep for 5 days if stored in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

Preparation
Nectarines can be used and prepared in the same ways as peaches, with no need to peel because they have no fuzz. Leave the skins on when making pies, cobblers and fresh fruit salads, etc.

Availability
California nectarines are available from late April and to late August. Almost all of the nectarines available are in California. Chiliean Nectarines are available from late December through early March.

Peculiar characteristics
# If your fruit crop is large and you don't know what to do with all those lovely ripe peaches you can make jam out of it. You also can purate the peaches to freeze them in for winter use; you can make a delicious chutney or you can make juice out of it. Peach juice is nectar from the gods according to the Romans and it can be freezed in as well!
# never plant a peach shrub or tree near an almond tree. As the peach is a brother of the almond the two sorts are easily crossed. The result is bitter nuts;
# Most peach stones have little holes in it or have a ribbed structure;
# Peach trees or shrubs can easily be grown out of a peach stone;
# Peach stones are used to make the coal for filters;
# If you buy peaches look for ones with a creamy to gold undercolor that indicates ripeness. The amount of red on peaches depends on the variety, it is not always a sign of ripeness. Look for fruit that has a well-defined crease and a good fragrance. Unripe peaches have a green undercolour and will never ripen. Peaches and nectarines only ripen well on the tree.


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