Nectarine is a smooth-skinned peach of the family Rosaceae.
It distinguish from the peach in aroma, skin texture, and flavor, but they resemble peach color, size and shape of seed.
The expression of a recessive allele is thought to be responsible for the smooth skin of nectarine fruits, which lack the fuzzy trichomes (plant hairs) characteristic of peach fruits.
Nectarine may have yellow or white flesh and clingstone (the flesh sticks to the pit) or freestone (the pit is easily separated from the flesh).
There are over 100 varieties of nectarine.
In appearance nectarine trees are the same as the peach tree and are virtually indistinguishable from one another.
The tree grows up to 7 m (23 ft) tall and wide. However, when pruned properly, trees are usually 3–4 m (10–13 ft) tall and wide.
The leaves are lanceolate, 7–16 cm (2.8–6.3 in) long, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) broad, pinnately veined.
The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 2.5–3 cm diameter, pink, with five petals.
The peach develops from a flower that ripens into both a fleshy, juicy exterior that forms the edible part of the fruit and a hard interior, called the stone or pit, that encloses the seed(s).
Nectarines are widely eaten fresh as a dessert fruit.
There are 44 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of nectarines.
Much like their genetic twin, the peach, nectarines pack a nutritional punch while carrying 5 calories more than peaches.
Nectarines store a broad range of nutrients that are vital for the healthy functioning of the body. They are a rich provider of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. They are also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B-6, folate, and pantothenic acid. Peaches also offer a rich treasure of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, and copper. Nectarines are low in calories, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, and are a good source of dietary fiber.
The health benefits of nectarine fruit include relief from hypokalemia, cancer, obesity, cholesterol, blood stasis and neurodegenerative diseases. It helps in maintaining healthy vision, skin care, nervous system, healthy bones, and teeth. It has anti-aging properties and also helps in detoxification, as well as improving digestion and cellular health. It has a wealth of essential nutrients and antioxidants which are valuable during pregnancy and it helps in strengthening the immune system.
Documented in various forms in the early 17th century, the name nectarine derives from a literary adjective, nectarine, “sweet as nectar.”
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.
The countries that produce nectarines are located all along the Mediterranean basin, South Africa, the United States, China and Australia.
The heaviest nectarine weighs 500 g (1 lb 1.63 oz), and was grown by Eleni Evagelou Ploutarchou (Cyprus), in Ayioi Vavatsinias, Cyprus, as verified on 30 June 2018.
Nectarines are not a cross between a peach and a plum.
The nectarine comes from the family ‘Rosaceae’, which is the family of roses.
A few nectarine varieties, both white-flesh or yellow-flesh, are proposed for winemaking.