A nectarine is a peach, not a cross between peach and plum

Posted on October 7th, 2014

Grown on trees, nectarines are considered a stone fruit

Contrary to common belief, a nectarine is not a cross between a peach and a plum, but a fuzzless variety of peach.

Okay let’s confuse things a bit.  It has been known that a peach tree may bear nectarines, and nectarine seeds may grow into trees that bear either nectarines or peaches.  Because it is not possible to know which fruit will grow on trees grown from nectarine seeds, nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to guarantee a crop of nectarines.

Grafting a nectarine branch

The history of nectarines

Nectarines, like peaches, most likely originated in the Orient over 2-4,000 years ago.  The nectarines of today look very little like those of the past. Like peaches, nectarine varieties change often to improve shelf life, flavor and appearance.

Trade brought the nectarine through Greece where the juice of the fruit was treasured and called a “drink of the gods” or nectar, hence the name, nectarine. The US first saw the nectarine in the 19th century.

California grows approximately 95% of all nectarines from the U.S. U.S. nectarines are seen May through October.  In the fall and winter months the majority of nectarines are imported from Chile.

There are 60+ varieties of nectarines but about 10 or so varieties are the ones we see commonly.

The perfect nectarine 

A ripe nectarine is a bit firmer than a ripe peach but should give with gentle pressure.  There is nothing like the fragrance of a ripe nectarine.  Once picked nectarines will not get sweeter but they will soften.

Store nectarines at room temperature until fully ripe. Refrigerate if fully ripe but for no more than a couple of days. Refrigeration minimizes the flavor and juice of the fruit.

Nectarines are a source of vitamins A and C and potassium and at only 70 calories a very good snack or dessert. They are commonly eaten fresh or cooked in jams and pies, just like peaches.  Grilled nectarine halves can be a real treat.

If you have extra fruit nectarines freeze easily.  Halve or slice the fruit and place on cookie trays in the freezer. When solid, simply transfer the frozen pieces in a plastic freezer bag or container.

Spices and seasonings that go well with peaches go well with nectarines. They include almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, coriander, mace and sherry for starters.

caramelized nectarines

Have we got your mouth watering for nectarines? Try this recipe or caramelized nectarines.


Please give us call to order your shipments of nectarines and be sure to share recipes with your shoppers.