Mar 22

Health Foods A-Z: Nectarine

It has its origins in China and spread to other regions via the Silk Route. Nectarine is usually red on the outside and has a single large seed in the middle.

Nectarines contain no fat and are low calorie fruits. They are a great source of anti-oxidants, plant nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are essential to keep us healthy. Nectarines are rich in vitamin C, that is essential for our immune system. It also has other vitamins including vitamin A and E.

It is also a healthy source of some of the B group of vitamins. It also contains a large number of minerals and electrolytes such as potassium, iron, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

In the US, nectarine is produced mostly in California owing to the perfect climate for its growth. Hot and humid climates do not work well for the nectarine. The varieties of the nectarine are based on the type of seed it has. Some nectarines have a seed that does not come out easily-these are called clingstone, and the other variety is called freestone.

Regular consumption of nectarines could act as a preventive for serious diseases such as cancer and heart diseases. This is because of its powerful nutrients.

Nectarines come into the market around mid June and stay until September. When selecting Nectarines, look for the softer ones that have a smooth surface. Firm ones are not ready to be eaten, and the ones with scars or cracked surfaces are not good to eat. Some speckled brown spots are common and normal for nectarines. If you get nectarines that have not yet ripened but are almost there, wrap them in newspaper or put them in a paper bag and keep them at room temperature. This quickens the ripening process.

Nectarines can be eaten raw, but should be eaten at room temperature for the best flavor. They can be had in fruit salads or in fruit chaat, for entrées, desserts among a million options. There are numerous preparations that use peaches, and all of these can use nectarine as well. Since these fruits are so similar, the taste does not change much. My recipe below is for fruit custard. Its a simple and easy dessert and is great for parties. I remember always having custard made using Brown & Polson’s custard powder. It comes out pretty well, and is super quick. If you prefer not to use the custard powder even if it is a longer method, read on.


2 nectarines, cubed

2 cups grapes

5-6 strawberries, cut in small pieces

2 bananas, cut in small pieces

1 apple, cut in small pieces

For custard

4 cups milk

6 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp. vanilla extract


Take the milk in a microwave safe dish and heat it for 2.5 minutes in the microwave. Simultaneously beat the eggs in a mixing bowl till they make a smooth mix. Combine the eggs and milk. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Try to make it as smooth as possible. Run the mixture through a strainer to help make it smooth.

Bake this mixture in a baking dish for approx. 1 hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees centigrade. Keep watching the custard to prevent it from curdling. Once it is done, allow it to cool.

Once the custard has cooled, add the fruits and mix well. Adjust sugar levels as per preference. Fruit custard is ready. Serve chilled.

This post is part of a series on health foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs, Fennel, Green chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils and Milk.

2 pings

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