Fruit of the Month: Nectarines

By WebMD Public Information from the CDC
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Commonly showcased side by side with peaches, nectarines are a similar, but yet different fruit. The best way to identify the difference between a nectarine and peach is by the lack of fuzz on the nectarine.

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.

Nectarine
Serving Size (140g)
Amounts Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 70
Calories from Fat 5
Total Fat 1g 1%
  Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 5%
  Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
  Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A 4%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 0%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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.

Selection

Ripe fruit are fragrant and give, slightly, to the touch. If they are a under-ripe, leave them at room temperature for 2-3 days to ripen. Look for fruit with smooth unblemished skin. Avoid extremely hard or dull colored fruits and soft fruit with soft, wrinkled, punctured skin.

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.

Make Nectarines Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

  • Bake peeled, halved, pitted fruit, cut-side up in a baking pan sprinkled with honey and cinnamon and cooked until tender.
  • Grilled nectarines are a wonderful tasty treat! Be sure to brush the fruit with fruit juices and cook until it is heated through.
  • Poached nectarines in fruit juice or wine and cook until tender...a simple, elegant way to end a meal.
  • Nectarines make a good substitute in any recipe that calls for peaches or apricots.
  • Puree ripe nectarines with skim milk, non-fat yogurt, or orange juice for a tasty breakfast treat.
  • Serve pancakes, waffles, or French toast with sliced or chopped nectarines.
  • Add cut up nectarines to your favorite fruit salad.

Serve baked nectarines with baked chicken or ham as delicious side dish.

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.

Make Nectarines Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

  • Bake peeled, halved, pitted fruit, cut-side up in a baking pan sprinkled with honey and cinnamon and cooked until tender.
  • Grilled nectarines are a wonderful tasty treat! Be sure to brush the fruit with fruit juices and cook until it is heated through.
  • Poached nectarines in fruit juice or wine and cook until tenderoa simple, elegant way to end a meal.
  • Nectarines make a good substitute in any recipe that calls for peaches or apricots.
  • Puree ripe nectarines with skim milk, non-fat yogurt, or orange juice for a tasty breakfast treat.
  • Serve pancakes, waffles, or French toast with sliced or chopped nectarines.
  • Add cut up nectarines to your favorite fruit salad.

Serve baked nectarines with baked chicken or ham as delicious side dish.

Recipes

Nectarine and Basil Bagel

Our Advice: Journal as 2 servings bread + 1 serving fresh fruit + 1 teaspoon butter or margarine light

2 nectarines, thinly sliced
2 bagels, split
4 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
12 large basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

  • Toast bagels and spread with cream cheese (1 tablespoon per bagel half).
  • Top with basil leaves and nectarine slices.
  • Sprinkle with pepper.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories 253, Protein 12 g, Fat 2 g, Calories From Fat 7%, Cholesterol 2 mg, Carbohydrates 47 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 463 mg.

Source: Produce for Better Health

Nectarine Whirl

Our Advice: Journal as 1/2 cup skim or 1% milk + 1/2 cup fruit juice + 1 serving fresh fruit + 2 teaspoons jam, jelly or honey.

1 nectarine cut in chunks
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 ice cubes, crushed

  • Place all ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend at high speed for 15 seconds.

Yield: 1 serving.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 236, Protein 6g, Fat 1g, Calories From Fat 2%, Cholesterol 2mg, Carbohydrates 53g, Fiber 2g, Sodium 74mg.

Source: Produce for Better Health

Broiled Pork Chops with Warm Nectarines

Our Advice: Journal as 1 serving fresh fruit + 1 serving/4 oz. lean meat without added fat.

In this recipe, nectarines are cooked with the chops, giving a warm, sweet companion for the chops, which are marinated before cooking.

4 loin pork chops, trimmed of extra fat
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon rum (optional)
4 nectarines, pitted, peeled and halved

  • Put the pork chops, coriander, cumin, and pepper in a sealable plastic bag and add the vinegar and optional rum. Fasten the bag and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight to marinate.
  • When ready to cook, preheat a broiler.
  • Place the chops on a broiling pan, along with the nectarines. Place the pan about 6 inches below the heat source. Broil 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 223, Protein 24g, Fat 7g, Calories From Fat 27%, Cholesterol 71mg, Carbohydrates 17g, Fiber 2g, Sodium 49mg.

Source: California Tree Fruit Agreement

Pan-Seared Salmon With Julienned Nectarines and Avocados

Our Advice: Journal as 1 serving fresh fruit + 2 teaspoons butter + 1 serving fatty fish with sauce.

8 attractive lettuce leaves such as red leaf or green leaf
4 nectarines, pitted and julienne
2 avocados, sliced, pitted and cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons lime juice, about 3 limes
2 tablespoons minced chives
4 salmon fillets, each about 1/2-inch thick
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

  • Divide the lettuce leaves evenly among four dinner plates and arrange them along the edge. Add the nectarines and avocados and drizzle with the lime juice. Sprinkle with the chives.
  • Season the fillets with the salt and the pepper.
  • In a large frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the fillets and cook about 3 minutes. Turn and cook about 30 seconds, then add the wine, scraping up any bits clinging to the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook another 2 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through and flakes when pierced with a fork.
  • Place a fillet on each plate, alongside the nectarines. Drizzle with any pan juices. Serve this with rice, if desired, accompanied by lime halves for squeezing.

Yield: 4 servings.

QUESTION

According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 482, Protein 66g, Fat 15g, Calories From Fat 28%, Cholesterol 175mg, Carbohydrates 18g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 251mg.

Source: California Tree Fruit Agreement

Santa Fe Chilled Nectarine Soup

Our Advice: Journal as 1 cup unsweetened canned fruit in juice + 1/2 cup fruit juice

2 lbs (8 small) nectarines cut up
1 cup apple juice
1 cup cranberry cocktail juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • Combine nectarines with juices, salt, pepper flakes and vinegar in electric blender.
  • Whirl until smooth and blended. Add cilantro leaves and whirl in a stop-and-go fashion a few seconds, just to chop.

Makes 5 (1-cup) servings.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 162, Protein 2g, Fat 1g, Calories From Fat 6%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 39g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 195mg.

Source: California Tree Fruit Agreement

Nectarine & Almond Breakfast Gratin

Our Advice: Journal as 1 serving fresh fruit + 1 egg without fat + 1 teaspoon peanut butter.

Nectarines and almonds are a classic French combination and in this simple, but elegant dish they are prepared in a gratin. Essentially a thin, crepe-like batter is poured over the nuts and fruits, just enough to make a base that holds them together so they can be sliced. The fruit is dotted with butter, sprinkled with sugar and baked until the batter sets. Serve this warm, accompanied by your favorite breakfast foods.

1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces, plus an additional teaspoon
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cup thinly-sliced nectarines
2 tablespoons coarsely-chopped almonds

  • Preheat an oven to 425 °F.
  • Using 1 teaspoon of the butter, grease an 8- or 9-inch gratin dish or other shallow baking dish, then sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  • Arrange the fruit in the dish.
  • In a bowl, combine the egg, milk, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the salt and whisk together. When well mixed, gradually whisk in the flour.
  • Pour this cream-like batter over the fruit.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, the butter, and the almonds over the top.
  • Bake until the batter is set, the butter melted, and the fruit cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Let stand about 10 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: Calories 173, Protein 5g, Fat 4g, Calories From Fat 21%, Cholesterol 5mg, Carbohydrates 31g, Fiber 2g, Sodium 117mg.

Source: California Tree Fruit Agreement

SOURCES: Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

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Last Editorial Review: 7/29/2005