Hello there! We are nectarines, and we're so happy you've come to meet us. Some people think we're a plum or a peach without the fuzz, but we are not. We are a sweet and juicy, one-of-a-kind fruit! That's why we're here to tell you all about ourselves, so you'll be able to recognise us in greengrocer shops and take us home with you.
Firstly, we're stone fruit and are related to peaches, apricots, plums and cherries. We grow on trees and our smooth skin is red and yellow in colour. Our flesh can vary from almost white to creamy yellow to orange and now red-fleshed fruit is new to the market. Each one of us has a pointed, seed in the middle which either comes away easily from the flesh (we are called freestones) or clings to the flesh (we are called clingstones).
We are good for you because we have vitamin C, which helps you stay healthy and fight germs. We also have fibre, which helps your tummy work well. And we have water, which helps you stay hydrated and cool. You can eat us fresh or canned or make us into juice or jam. We are a sweet and juicy fruit that you should try if you haven't yet!
We're available from September to May but we are at our best in January and February when we are especially juicy and sweet.
In Australia, more than 60 kinds of nectarines grow during a special time of the year. Each type of nectarine has its own special colour for the skin, the inside part, and its taste. With some nectarines, it’s easier to take out their big seed in the middle, while others are a bit tricky.
Nectarines can have either white or yellow flesh (insides) and can be divided into clingstone and freestone.
The white-fleshed nectarines are super sweet and have less sourness compared to the yellow-fleshed ones. On the other hand, yellow-fleshed nectarines are loved for their tangy and slightly sour taste.
There are many, many nectarine varieties. Some of the most popular are Swansea, Spring Bright, Artic Snow, Artic Queen, Fantasia, Flavortop, Fairlane, August Red and Flaming Red.
Our parent plant is a small tree, 5-7 metres by 3-5 metres, with long, narrow leaves. Its flowers can vary from deep rose-pink to almost white. It prefers warm dry weather and sandy well-drained soil.
We're hand-picked when we're near maturity (when we turn from green to yellow) and still firm enough to travel without bruising.
Select plump and richly coloured plums with smooth, glossy skin. The skin colour and shape depend on the variety.
Our flavour and sweetness develop as we soften. Ripen us in a shallow fruit bowl on the kitchen bench. Make sure we are out of direct sunlight. Ripe fruit will have a yellow, red or orange colour and will feel soft when pressed around the stem. Store ripe fruit in a container or recyclable bag in the fridge. Use within 2-3 days.
Our history is linked with the peach, and it appears China is our place of origin. However, records show that we came to Europe from Persia, and then into England in the 16th century. From there we spread into the New World.
We have been grown in Australia from the early days of European settlement.
We belong to two groups – freestone where the stone can easily be removed and cling stone where it clings to the flesh. Both can be eaten whole or cut, preferably with our skin on.
We're delicious fresh and added to fruit salads, breakfast cereals, ice cream, cakes and salads.
We can be poached, pan-fried, grilled, baked, microwaved and even barbecued.
Pop a nectarine in the school lunch box. Top tip - wrap it in a piece of paper towel to protect it and dry your hands after eating it.
Slice nectarines and serve on toast with ricotta or cottage cheese and a drizzle of honey.
Try these great Sydney Market recipes using nectarines: