Life is peachy when you’re eating nectarines. 🍑 These sweet little stony fruits are like little baby cousins to peaches, but without the same fuzzy skin. As well as being totally freakin’ delicious, nectarines are packed full of nutritional goodness.
Nectarine health benefits 101
These divine fruits are as close as you can get to proving the existence of a higher being. But they’re also packed full of health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of nectarines include being:
- a decent source of vitamin A, providing 27.1 micrograms (mcg) in a single, average nectarine (of the 700–900 mcg you need daily)
- a provider of vitamin C, the super antioxidant that supports your immune system
- a source of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, which all play a role in bone health
- made of 89 percent water to help you stay hydrated
- a source of gallic acid, an antioxidant that could help with inflammation
They’re high in naturally occurring fruit sugars. But that 11.8 grams of sugar in an average nectarine (minus 2 grams of fiber) adds a tiny amount to your total daily intake. Subbing out a cookie, brownie, or candy bar for a nectarine is a pretty darn healthy choice.
Nectarines come in different sizes and colors. But an average-size fruit will weigh in at around 129 grams.
Here’s what you can expect for nutrition in this serving size.
|Protein||1.37 grams (g)|
|Sodium||16.8 milligrams (mg)|
|Vitamin A||27.1 micrograms (µg)|
|Vitamin K||2.5 µg|
|Vitamin C||3.74 mg|
Biting into a nectarine as that sweet juice runs down your chin might cause confusing levels of bliss. But this is no guilty pleasure.
Nectarines are packed full of vitamins and minerals that are straight-up good for your health (thanks, nature).
Take the superhero vitamin, vitamin C. One nectarine provides 3.74 grams of the 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C the Dietary Guidelines recommend you get in a day (depending on your sex). So not a staggering amount — but every little bit helps when it comes to vitamin C. And it might as well taste as damn good as a nectarine.
Research suggests that vitamin C may help prevent and treat infection by enhancing immune cell function. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. These nasty compounds may have links to the development of certain cancers and diseases in the body.
You can find smaller amounts of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin K in the humble nectarine, which all play a role in bone health.
Nectarines also provide gallic acid. This is an antioxidant compound found in stone fruits. A 2021 review found that gallic acid may reduce inflammation by stopping the release of certain inflammatory molecules.
Nectarines can even help keep you hydrated. They’re around 89 percent water, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. (Don’t substitute these totally for water, though. You might end up in a sticky situation. Or, you know, just really thirsty.)
Like pretty much any food, not everyone can enjoy nectarines (sobs). Certain people are more at risk of adverse effects and should avoid eating them.
Some conditions like chronic kidney disease (CKD) can make it more difficult for your body to get rid of potassium. This can lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia, where potassium levels in the blood are excessively high.
Nectarines (and other stone fruits) provide 285 milligrams of potassium. If you have CKD, you can still eat nectarines, but make sure you keep your daily potassium intake to the amount recommended by your doc or dietitian — usually around 2,000 milligrams per day.
If you have a medical condition and you’re unsure whether nectarines are safe for you to eat, then for peach’s sake speak with your doc.
Can you be allergic to nectarines?
Unfortunately, yes. So if you have a known food allergy, you’ll also need to give nectarines a miss.
If you’re not sure, there will be some warning signs. Mild allergies can cause itchiness and redness to the face, lips, mouth, throat, or tongue. If you’re allergic to pollen for birch or alder trees, you might also be prone to nectarine allergy. This also applies if you have an allergy to their fuzzy cousin, peaches.
In more severe reactions, you might experience:
- diarrhea or upset stomach
- itchy or runny nose
- itchy and red skin rash
- being sick
The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms include:
- swelling of the throat, tongue, or airways which make it difficult to breath
- dizziness or feeling extremely faint
- noticeable hives and very itchy skin
- low blood pressure
- nausea or being sick
- a quick or weak pulse
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
Don’t know your peaches from your pomegranates, you silly plum? Here are some tips, tricks, and recipes to get the most out of your nectarines.
Like most fruits, nectarines have different varieties. But they can generally be split into two groups: clingstone and freestone.
As their names suggest, these tell you whether the stone inside the fruit will stick to the flesh or come away easily on its own.
Pick freestone as a go-to picnic snack, as it will be a lot easier to remove the stone with just your hands. Use clingstone for canning, preserving, and deserts, as they’re a little bit sweeter and juicier but take a little more elbow grease.
When are they in season?
You’ll start seeing nectarines available from late April, and they’ll stay in season until late August. There’s also a Chilean variety that pops up earlier, from December to March.
Pick these up in July or August to get them in their prime. That’s when they’ll be the fruitiest, juiciest, and most delicious.
How to store
Did you know that apples you buy from the grocery store might have been kept in cold storage for almost a year!?
Grocery stores have gotten clever when it comes to long-term food storage. That’s why you can still get loads of fruit and veg out of season. Buying them in season is the way to go, though. That’s when they’re at their best.
Nectarines don’t have the same shelf life as apples — they have a shorter season and shelf life.
If you’ve ever bought a nectarine and been scandalized at biting into a mealy, chalky, imposter fruit, it’s probably because it’s been in cold storage too long. If you can’t buy them when they’re super ripe, the trick is to store them outside of the fridge until they ripen. This should take 2 to 3 days on your countertop.
They’ll only last a couple of days in the fridge once ripe though. So don’t take your sweet-ass time.
If you’re using nectarines for baking, you’re probably going to want to remove the skin. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward:
- Use a small knife to cut a crisscross on the base of the nectarine. Don’t cut too deep into the fruit, just enough to get all of the skin.
- Blanch that bad boy in boiling water for 30 seconds, then carefully transfer to a bowl of iced water using a slotted spoon.
- Once cooled, remove from the ice bath and peel away the skin. It should come off easily.
Removing the stone is a similar vibe to avocados:
- Use a small knife to cut all the way around the stone. Twist to separate into two juicy halves.
- Carefully cut around the stone and gently dislodge it.
Nectarines can be superstars in cakes, jams, and even salads. They’re just that damn delicious. Here’s a rundown of some of the best recipes we found:
Not only are these godly fruits sticky, sweet, and irresistibly tasty, they also pack a punch in the nutrients department.
Full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, adding these to your diet will give your go-to recipes a much-needed flavor boost (unless you need to restrict potassium intake — then stay the hecktarine away from nectarines).
Or just bite into a ripe and juicy fruit and enjoy the sticky sweet nectar running down your chin.