Nectarines are often confused with peaches, but when given a second look nectarines are easy to spot because they don't have the fuzzy outside that peaches have. Nectarines are similar in taste to the peach and both exhibit a pit on the inside. A clingstone does just that: the flesh clings to the stone-like pit, while a freestone separates easily from the pit.
Nectarines may be purchased year round, but they're typically best during their peak season in July and August. When buying nectarines, avoid rock-hard or green tinted fruit. Nectarines may be slightly firmer than peaches, but they should still give a little when pressed. If not, store them in a paper bag with a banana or apple and place on the counter until ripe. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Wash nectarines with cool running water before slicing or eating.
Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C, and one large nectarine contains almost 3 grams of dietary fiber. You can use nectarines just as you would peaches, which means this stone fruit is so versatile. Add to fresh lettuce greens, turn it into a salsa, make it into a fruit salad, or grill it and serve with chicken, fish or pork. Nectarines can make a divine crumble or crisp, or grill it and serve over ice cream. Whether it's a nectarine or a peach, just make sure to bite into at least one of them this summer. They are a great addition to the usual fruit options.
Grilled Pork and Nectarine Kabobs (Printable PDF)
3 Tablespoons lite soy sauce
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large nectarines, cut into wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 medium green pepper, cut into thick slices
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Pour in a gallon size plastic bag. Add pork and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2-12 hours. Discard excess marinade. Thread pork, nectarines, onion and green pepper onto pre-soaked wooden skewers. Grill over high heat for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until pork reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145°F.
Yield 6 servings, about 2 kabobs each
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 200 calories, 9 grams fat, 360 milligrams sodium, 11 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 20 grams protein