Nectarines are a fleshy stone fruit, in season from about September to April but at their best over January and February. Nectarines grow on trees and have a smooth skin which can have patchy shades of red, yellow and white. The interior of the fruit can also vary from white to yellow and have sections of red, usually around the stone in the centre.
There are a range of varieties of nectarines, including ‘Swanzee’, ‘Artic Sweet’, ‘Snow Queen’, ‘Firebrite’, ‘August Glo’ and ‘Flaming Red’. Some of these names are most likely taken from the fact that nectarines are sold by their flesh colour: yellow-fleshed or white-fleshed.
Nectarine and peach trees and almost indistinguishable, with some confusing the two fruits. Nectarines are similar in appearance to peaches, but with smooth rather than fuzzy skin. The fruit can have freestones, where the flesh can be separated easily from the stone, or clingstones, where it is harder to remove the stone.
Once the fruit turns from green to yellow, it is ready to be picked. When selecting nectarines to purchase, look for those that are fragrant, firm and plump and with a smooth, shiny exterior. Nectarines are high in vitamin A and C and can be eaten fresh or cooked in preserves and pies.
The Food Forest, Eko Fresh Fruits, McLaren Vale Orchards & Miss Merbein, Ashbourne Valley Orchards, Cooinda Proprietors and B&A Andonopoulos are all stalls at the Showground Farmers’ Market where you can find nectarines.