This gorgeous fruit comes with a secret…read on to find out.
A warm spring breeze wafts through my open kitchen window, kicking up the scent of nectarines. By the strength of it, you’d think I was harboring bags and bags of the fruit, when in fact it’s simply one, fat and ready for enjoyment, that’s lending its spicy-sweet aroma to the air today. Their arrival is a revelation, a sigh of relief after months of insipid off-season imposters at the market. The bitter, hard flesh of the wintertime option no match for a nectarine in its true early summer form – sweet, spicy, juicy jeweled perfection. I’ve always preferred nectarines to peaches, just a little more intense and assertive, their acidity as bright and refreshing as the season they usher in. But this gorgeous fruit also comes with a secret. Read on to learn why nectarines might be your next whole-food skincare obsession and to learn the truth about this beautiful stone fruit:
What are they? So, what’s the big deal with nectarines? What’s their secret? (You might want to sit down for this.) Nectarines are actually the same species as peaches. That’s right, they’re technically the same thing. Shocking, I know. It’s believed that nectarines, which are native to Northwest China, carry a recessive gene variant (called an allele) that makes their skin smooth and their flavor slightly different, while peaches carry a dominant allele, responsible for their fuzzy skin and mild flavor. Commercially, and likely to you and I and most other people, they’re considered different fruits.
What are the benefits? Much like their genetic twin, the peach, nectarines pack a nutritional punch while carrying fewer calories than other fruits. Their richly-pigmented skin is chock full of anthocyanins, antioxidants that can scrub the body of free radicals and stimulate and protect collagen production. Nectarines’ skin is also rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body. The converted vitamin A, and the phosphorous and vitamin C present in nectarines not only boosts the immune system, but also aids in cellular turnover and tissue regeneration. These vitamins can also boost collagen production, which can reduce the signs of aging and keep skin firm and healthy. Nectarines are also a great source of lutein, a difficult vitamin for humans to get enough of and one that supports healthy skin and eyes. Bottom line: Nectarines can help your skin look and feel younger, support healthy eyes, and boost immunity.
How do I use them? My favorite way to eat nectarines is fresh, as-is. Nothing beats the simplicity of fresh fruit, in my opinion. However, their similarity to peaches means the two are interchangeable in recipes — use nectarines to add a bite of acid to any recipe and slightly sweeter outcome. Nectarines are also amazing when added to salads, smoothies, savory dishes, such as tarts and flatbreads, tossed onto yogurt and added to smoothie bowls.
Nectarine & Cashew Cream Toast
½ cup raw unsalted cashews + water for soaking
2 tsp water
1 tsp raw honey
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Dash each of ginger and nutmeg
Bread or crackers of choice
Place the cashews in a measuring cup or jar and cover with cold filtered water. Soak overnight or at least 8 hours.
Rinse the cashews and toss in a food processor. Add water, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, sea salt, ginger and nutmeg and pulse, scraping down the sides as needed, until creamy and well combined.
For the toasts, slice bread and toast until golden. Spread toasted bread with cashew cream and top with sliced nectarines. Drizzle with more honey just before serving. Enjoy!
Nectarine Yogurt Parfait
Plain dairy-free yogurt
Unsweetened coconut flake
Blueberries or other fruit
Optional: Honey or maple syrup
Place yogurt in a bowl and top with sliced nectarines, fruit, and honey. Sprinkle coconut flake over top. Easy and delicious!
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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.