Nectarines are a smooth type of peach with sweet, aromatic flesh that has a zingy aftertaste. If you’re a newcomer to this fruit, then you may be wondering if you can eat nectarine skin? We’re about to take a close look at this fruit and how most people eat it.
Can you eat nectarine skin?
The skin of a nectarine is thin and perfectly edible, so most people choose to leave it on rather than waste time peeling it off. Before eating the fruit, it should always be washed under cold water to ensure that unwanted spray and dirt is removed.
From a nutritional perspective, most dietitians also agree that nectarine skin should be left intact. It contains most of the fruit’s fiber, which helps keep you full for longer and assists with digestion. The skin also contains much of the nutrition, including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Is nectarine skin okay to consume during pregnancy?
Fresh fruit and vegetables should play an important part in your diet, but if you’re pregnant you may want to choose organic nectarines that are free from sprays. EWG lists nectarines as one of their “dirty dozen” of fruit with pesticides. As mentioned in previous articles, we aren’t nutritional experts – expecting moms are best to consult a dietician or doctor if they’re unsure about what’s best for their baby.
How to peel nectarine skin
Some people may find a nectarine’s skin has a slightly bitter flavor. Others prefer the softer texture of the flesh without having to chew the peel. Whatever your reason, a ripe nectarine can be a challenge to peel as the fruit easily damages during the process.
The best way to peel bulk nectarines is to cut a small cross into the bottom of each fruit, then blanch in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and use a paring knife to peel the skin off without damaging the rest of the fruit.
There are two broad categories of nectarine: freestone and clingstone.
Freestone: the freestone variety is a breeze when it comes to separating the pit from the flesh. Simply run a knife around the fruit’s center seam and then twist each side in opposite directions. The two sections of the fruit should pull away leaving a seed which can be disposed of.
Clingstone: a clingstone nectarine has fruit that won’t easily come apart from the stone inside. Although this variety is still delicious eaten out of hand, it is often used for canning and cooking purposes as the flesh holds its shape better.
Selection and storage
In the United States, nectarines are in season from May to October, with the peak season running from July to August. Look for fruits that are free from spots, bruising, and wrinkles. The red skin should have splashes of yellow which is a strong indicator that the fruit is ripe. A pleasant aroma is also a sign that your nectarines are ripe and flavorsome.
If you have nectarines that are a little of the firm side, they will usually ripen at room temperature in 2-3 days. The ripening process can be sped up by placing them in a closed paper bag and leaving on the counter or some other place that isn’t too cool.
Green nectarines have been picked too early; although they will continue to soften once picked, they won’t become sweeter.
To keep nectarines from going off, you may like to store them in the refrigerator until needed. You can also wash, de-stone, and slice them into pieces before freezing in bags.
7 culinary uses for nectarines
- Nectarines are delicious eaten on their own, but they are also a versatile ingredient that have many uses in the kitchen.
- Slice thinly and splash with lemon juice before adding to fruit salads or garden salads.
- Cut into small pieces and mix into muffin or cake batter for a tasty filling.
- Chop into pieces and use as a filling for a fruit cobbler or pie.
- Serve as a healthy topping for ice cream, gelato, or sorbet.
- Dice with red onion, lime juice, cilantro, and sweet chili sauce to make a punchy salsa.
- Blend with a selection of other fruit to make a smoothie or use slices to flavor water – tasty beverages without the high sugar content.
Fast facts about nectarines
- Nectarines are essentially fuzz-free peaches with the same genetic makeup.
- They are high in fiber, low in calories, and provide a good source of potassium, Vitamin C, and vitamin A.
- It is believed they originated in China over 2000 years ago and were first introduced to the United States by the Spanish.
- Around 95% of United States nectarine production is in California, thanks to its warm climate.
If you’re new to nectarines, then you may be pleased to know that peeling them isn’t necessary. A nectarine is safe and enjoyable to eat skin and all, just remember to wash them first. If you’re pregnant and concerned about the danger of pesticides, then consider buying organic produce.
What is your favorite stone fruit? Please let us know in the comments below.