How to Select the Sweetest Nectarine
Nectarines are such a treat in the summer. They all look so pretty with their colors ranging from pale yellow-pink to red and even purple. Most nectarines look pretty at the store and Farmers markets, but how do you know which ones will be the most flavorful and how do you select the sweetest nectarine?
Identifying the Sweetest Nectarine
I learned from one of the Farmers recently some markers to look for when selecting the most flavorful and sweetest nectarines. Freckles are lovely and it turns out on nectarines, they are sun spots. Notice the small spots on the nectarine on the right. These sun spots are an indication the nectarine has had more sun exposure which translates into the nectarine building more sugars making it sweeter.
Another marker for the sweetest nectarine in the pile is the area around the stem. If the stem area is pale yellow or has green, it means the nectarine isn’t ripe yet. If the area surrounding the stem are has developed color, it is an indication that the nectarine is ripe. While the nectarine on the left has beautiful color and is super smooth, it won’t be as sweet and flavorful as the one on the left with its sun spots and fully developed stem area. The other indication is of course how soft or hard they are, but too much touching bruises the fruit, so best to look first, select and be a little patient until they are ready to eat.
Tasting the Nectarines
I did taste these two nectarine to see if the above described markers did in fact indicate which one would be sweeter. Both nectarines ripened well and were really good, but the one on the right did have fuller flavor and was the sweetest nectarine of the two. It will be fun to keep testing and tasting. I love nectarines! They could very well be my favorite summer fruit.
Nectarines also make a great tasting salad dressing. Try nectarines in the Peach-ginger Dressing. While called Peach-ginger Dressing, nectarines easily replace the peaches and make an equally delicious dressing to the Asian Herbs & Noodles dish. I make the Asian Herbs & Noodles dish with dressing made from both peaches and nectarines depending on what I have on hand and which are best from the Farmers Market.