The history of the nectarine goes back to the early part of the Christian era, then merges with that of the peach. Sturtevant writes that the first mention of nectarines was made by Cieza de Leon in the mid-fourteenth century when he described the Caymito of Peru as "large as a nectarine." However, U.P. Hedrick is convinced that Pliny's "duracinus" (A.D. 79) is the nectarine. Since Dalechamp in 1587 and J. Bauhin in 1650 described nectarines, other botanists and pomologists have included them in their lists of fruits. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the nectarine was called "nucipersica" because it resembled the walnut in smoothness and color of the outer skin as well as in size and shape. Parkinson in 1629 described six varieties and said, "I presume that the name Nucipersica doth most rightly belong unto that kind of Peach, which we call Nectorins. "Robert Beverly described them as most abundant in Virginia, in his History of Virginia, published in 1720. He further said that the Indians "had greater variety and finer sorts of them (peaches and nectarines) than the English." The word "nectarine" comes from the Greek "nekter," which is the drink of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology.
The nectarine is a smooth-skinned peach. Experiments show that nectarines may grow from peach stones, and peaches from nectarine stones. Peach trees can produce nectarines by bud-variation and nectarine trees also produce peaches, and the fruit so produced will come true to seed. Also, either peach or nectarine trees may produce a fruit half peach and half nectarine, and subsequently produce a true peach. The trees, leaves, and seeds of these fruits are indistinguishable. The characteristics of the fruits are the same except the nectarine has a fuzzless skin, is smaller, and has firmer flesh, greater aroma, and a distinct and richer flavor. Varieties in nectarines are parallel to those in peaches, being either clingstone or free, and the flesh may be red, yellow, or white.
Nectarines may be used in any of the ways peaches are usedfresh as a table fruit, stewed, baked, or made into preserves, jams, and ice cream. They can be canned and also dried.
In the humid eastern United States, nectarines are not as successfully grown as peaches. For this reason virtually the entire commercial crop is grown in California. Nectarines are on the market June through September from domestic sources and January through March from abroad.
The most important shipping varieties are: Quetta, which is a large, deep-colored clingstone fruit; John Rivers, a medium-sized, variety that is highly crimson on exposed cheek, and is practically a freestone; and Gower, a medium-sized, highly colored freestone fruit, which is the earliest commercial variety.
Benefits of Nectarine
Nectarines are considered a subacid fruit and can be mixed with any fruit. They leave an alkaline ash, and are best eaten raw. They are wonderful dried.
Nutrients in one pound
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