Discover how to store nectarines properly - ripe, not yet ripe, in the kitchen, long term storing options and more. Your ultimate nectarine guide.
Did you know that nectarines continue to ripe after you buy them? In this case, storing nectarines in a manner, which will make them last longer and retain their freshness, is important. Even though there are several ways to store them, one tried and tested method of storing them is to place them next to each other while leaving small gaps in between. In short, they are not supposed to touch each other.
However, putting them in solitary confinement, away from each other, can be a bit time consuming, as every time someone reaches for a nectarine, you will have to ensure they have not disrupted the arrangement.
What you can do is place nectarines in bowls or plastic bags. Just make sure that you do not stack several nectarines on top of each other. With this in mind, you need to learn all the different ways you
can make this delicious fruit last. Before we move on to discussing the best ways to store them, let’s take a look at the origins of nectarines.
The Origin of Nectarines
Nectarines are a type of peach but without the fuzz. Keep in mind that it is not a hybrid of a peach and plum. Where do these sweet and sour fruits hail from? Originating in China, more than 2,000 years ago, growers cultivated them in ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia. They made their way to Great Britain in the late 16th or 17th century with the Spanish bringing them to the United States.
Now, the state of California grows more than 95% of nectarines. If you plant peach seeds into the ground, they may grow into trees, bearing nectarines. On the other hand, nectarines seeds can grow into trees bearing either peaches or nectarines.
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing which fruit a tree grown from the nectarine seeds will bear. For this reason, growers graft nectarine branches of peach trees to ensure it grows a crop of nectarines. If nectarines are your favorite fruit to eat, you need to perfect your selection method, which involves spotting the good ones from the bad ones.
How to Choose Nectarines
Nectarines, rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, are a fruit you will want to introduce into your household. Choosing the right fruits is the first challenge that you will come across! You may need to sift through the batches of nectarines that you will come across in order to select the perfect fruits to take home with you. Here are a few tips you can use to help you pick the perfect nectarine every time:
- You should choose medium to large nectarines. A huge nectarine will be mealy while a small one will be too green.
- Look at the color of the nectarines. When talking about the color of the nectarine, we are not talking about the hint of red blush on them. The red blush indicates nothing. What you are looking for is the background color around the stem. If the color around it is somewhat green, the nectarine is not ripe, yet. However, you can still buy them and let them ripen at your home. To ensure the quality of the nectarines, buy the ones that have an orange-gold glow to them, as they will be sweet and flavorful.
- Buy nectarines that are firm. Firm nectarines can last longer than ripe nectarines.
- Always buy local and seasonal nectarines.
- Ask the vendor or store you are buying nectarines from if you can try a sample before you buy them.
When you get your hands on the perfect group of nectarines to take home with you, do not hold back
and buy a bunch of them, especially if you have a lot of nectarine fans at home. Once you have brought them to your home, it is time to store them.
How to Store Nectarines
The goal is to make nectarines last longer. By storing them correctly, you can snack on them for a while without them becoming rotten. If they become rotten, you will need to throw them away. Surely, that will be a waste of good fruit. If you end up making the same mistake of storing them incorrectly, you will find yourself discarding them again. There goes your money! If you want to make nectarines last longer, here are a few ways you can store them.
1. Storing Ripening Nectarines
If you have rather firm and unripe nectarines on your hands, you need to let them ripen at room temperature. You may have to wait for 2 to 3 days before you can eat them. To check if the nectarine has ripened, press it gently. If your hand leaves an impression on the fruit, congrats, your fruit has ripened.
Anyone who is impatient and does not want to wait can speed up the process. Simply, place the nectarines in a paper bag and place it outside at room temperature away from the sunlight. When you place them nectarines in a paper or plastic bag, you need to cut holes into it. It is important to let the nectarines breathe. Once ripened, store them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer to prolong its life.
The science behind nectarines ripening faster in a paper bag is that when you place them in there, they attract the ethylene gas, which they naturally hive off. This works to speed up the entire ripening process. When you place ripe fruit in the fridge, you are prolonging its life for one week.
2. Storing Perfectly Ripe Nectarines
If you have bought perfectly ripe nectarines but do not want to eat them just yet, you need to store them in the fridge. When you place them in the fridge, the cold slows down their ripening process. However, do not put them in the fridge and forget about them. Keep a check on them to ensure they do not get completely dehydrated, as cold temperatures can do that to them. If your nectarines have developed wrinkly skin, they are over-ripening and dying. The lesson here is that one should eat a perfectly ripe nectarine as soon as possible.
3. Storing Not Quite There Yet Nectarines
When a nectarine is a little soft and firm, it is probably not completely there, yet. This means if the nectarine is a bit soft and rather fragrant, you need to place it on the kitchen counter. If you want, you can place them in a location where the sun shines. Even though this will quicken the process, too much exposure to sunlight can make the soft spot even mushier. You need to ensure that you do not overexpose that soft spot on the nectarine to too much sun.
4. Storing Nectarines to Speed Up the Ripening Process
If the paper bag method to ripen firm nectarines was not fast enough for you, there is another way you can speed things up. When you are ripening your nectarine, place a banana, pear, or apple in the paper bag with the nectarine. All these fruits naturally give off ethylene gas, speeding up the ripening process.
5. Kitchen Counter
Whether you have stored nectarines on the kitchen counter or in a paper bag, you need to check on them several times during the day. You are checking to see if they have ripened. Since you will have several nectarines, you will need to sift through them to find the ripest ones. Store the ripened fruits in the fridge until it’s time to eat them. Otherwise, they will become rotten.
6. Longer Storage Method
You love nectarines so much that you ended buying a bunch of them and now, you cannot eat them. If you are worried about them going to waste, don’t be! Luckily, there is an easy answer to keep them fresh for a long time — freeze them. You can freeze the nectarines and savor them every time you crave one.
You can even use frozen peaches to make delicious and mouthwatering baked goods such as pies, cakes, and cupcakes. You can also use them to make smoothies or add them to your ice cream. However, to freeze nectarines properly, there is a method that you need to follow. Here are the three steps you need to follow in order to freeze nectarines:
Peel and Slice Nectarines
You need to peel and slice nectarines before you put them in the fridge. Even though the peeling part is
not necessary, it will save you a lot of trouble in the future if you plan to use them to create a dessert.
Place the Peeled and Sliced Nectarines in a Single Layer on a Baking Sheet
If you do not want to deal with the clean-up, you can use a baking sheet. You can place the peeled and sliced nectarines in a single layer on a baking sheet, lined with wax paper or parchment paper. The reason you place the nectarines in a single layer is that you do not want them to touch each other too much. When placed in the freezer in this manner, they will freeze quickly, freezing all the peeled and sliced nectarines in one go. The faster the nectarines freeze, the better their texture will be. Keep in mind that the nectarines will not freeze in a clump.
Place the Baking Sheet in the Freezer Until the Nectarines Are Completely Frozen
Depending on your freezer, the freezing process can take anywhere from around four hours to an entire day. If you have a deep or standalone freezer, the nectarines will freeze faster. However, if your freezer is attached to your fridge, the nectarines will freeze slower.
Once frozen, place the sliced nectarines in a sealable plastic bag. You want to make sure there is no air trapped in the plastic bag by sucking out all the air using a straw from a small opening that is big enough for a straw.
Place the bag in the freezer and take it out only when you need to create a dish using them. You should
use frozen nectarines from a standalone freezer within a year. On the other hand, nectarines stored in a refrigerator and freezer combo should ideally be used within six months.
If you love nectarines and want to make baked goods and other dishes using them all year round, it’s time you start storing them the right way! If you want your nectarines to last more than a week, use one of the storage methods to keep them fresh. Follow these tips to store your nectarines and you will never have to worry about having to throw them out again.