NEW: Farm Fresh Nectarines from Hale Groves!

By: The Hale Groves Team | On: | Category: Fruit Facts
Farm Fresh Nectarines

We at Hale Groves are very excited to bring a new summer fruit to our lineup: Farm-Fresh Nectarines!

Nectarines (like peaches, cherries, plums and apricots) are what’s known as a “drupe” or “stone” fruit. Stone fruits, which are fleshy, are so-called because they have a “stone” or pit at their center which houses the fruit’s seed.

Here are some other facts about nectarines:

Exactly what is a Nectarine?

At first glance, nectarines may look identical to peaches, only with smooth skins instead of downy ones. In truth, peaches and nectarines are almost exactly the same in terms of genetics. Fresh nectarines are very similar to fresh peaches in terms of size, shape and color (yellow and red). They’re also very similar in how many calories they have per serving and the nutritional benefits they offer. Peaches and nectarines are both fruits in the Rosaceae family, and they’re both summer fruits. They even taste a lot alike – the only real difference is that a ripe nectarine is slightly more acidic than a ripe peach, giving the flesh a faint citrusy flavor. The flavor difference, along with the fact that peaches have fuzzy skins while nectarine skins are smooth, is due to a natural mutation. In all other ways, the two fruits are identical.

Can Nectarines be used in recipes that call for peaches?

They sure can! As a matter of fact, it’s often easier to use nectarines in baking or when making jams or jelly because you don’t have to peel them first. The nectarine’s smooth, thin skin doesn’t toughen the way a peach’s fuzzy skin will when cooked. Leaving the skins on saves you a step when you’re baking with nectarines!

Are nectarines indigenous to the Americas?

No…like many fruits, nectarines were first discovered in China. The trees were later brought to Rome, Greece and Persia. This is probably where they got their name, “nectarine.” The Greek gods were said to enjoy a sweet, fragrant drink called nectar; the sweet taste of the fruit led the people of this region to name it after this mythological drink.

What can nectarines be used for besides snacking?

Ever tried grilled peaches? The flesh of a nectarine is a bit firmer than that of a peach, making them even more appropriate for grilling and baking. Nectarines are great in a wide variety of recipes as well: try them in salads, smoothies, cobblers or pies. You can also use nectarines in preserves, sweet salsas, chutneys and savory dishes. For a special treat, try adding slices of fresh nectarines to your iced tea!

What’s the best way to store nectarines?

Wondering how to store nectarines? If you order nectarines from Hale Groves, you should definitely store them in the fridge if you’re not going to eat them fairly soon – this is because nectarines, like other stone fruits, will continue to ripen at room temperature, meaning they won’t last as long if you store them on the kitchen counter. So, keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them!

Even then, nectarines should be used fairly quickly…unlike our citrus fruits which stay good for weeks in the refrigerator, perfectly ripe nectarines (like you’ll receive from Hale Groves) should be eaten, cooked or preserved as soon as possible. (Ours are so delicious we don’t think you’ll find using them up to be a problem!)

Are nectarines good for you?

They are indeed! In fact, nectarines make a wonderfully healthy snack. Here are some of the nutrients that add to the health benefits of nectarines:

Vitamin C. Citrus fruits aren’t the only great source of vitamin C – nectarines are rich in this antioxidant, too. Vitamin C helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Vitamin A. Nectarines are high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene (which gives nectarines their signature red-and-yellow coloring) is converted by our bodies into vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital to the immune system as well as eye and skin health.
Vitamin B3. The body converts vitamin B3 into niacin, which helps improve blood fat levels, boosts brain function, and may reduce blood pressure.
Potassium. Potassium regulates our heartbeat, keeps our muscles and nerves functioning properly and helps maintain a healthy nervous system.
Magnesium. Magnesium helps us sleep better, improves our mood, boosts our energy levels and increases our mental focus.
Copper. Copper helps our bodies turn sugar into energy.
Gallic acid. Gallic acid is an antioxidant believed to be beneficial in fighting cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Folate. Another antioxidant, folate is necessary for forming healthy red blood cells.

Nectarines also contain trace amounts of phosphorus, vitamin K and calcium, all of which support bone health.

How can you tell if a Nectarine is ripe?

If you’re wondering how to tell if a nectarine is ripe, don’t rely on the color to tell you – color is not an indicator in this case (so long as there is no green on the fruit’s skin). A ripe nectarine will be fragrant and firm to the touch, yet will give slightly when squeezed gently.

You won’t have to check for ripeness if you order your nectarines online from Hale Groves, however…ours are always picked at the very peak of ripeness when they’re extra-juicy, extra-sweet, and wonderfully fragrant. They are then carefully packed and rushed to you and your gift recipients so you can enjoy them at their very best!

What makes Hale Groves Nectarines so special?

Grown in sunny California’s San Joaquin Valley, Hale Groves Nectarines are a perfect summertime treat. These scarlet-and-gold beauties are unlike any you’ll find in the grocery store because our farmers leave them on the tree until they’ve reached their peak of sweet, succulent flavor. Order some for yourself or for someone you care about…they make a great Father’s Day gift or “just because” gift for anyone!

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