Facts About the Nectarine Tree
The word Nectarine comes from the Greek word sweet liquid. Nectarines originated in China more than 2000 years ago. They were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and were introduced to America by the Spanish.
Nectarines are commonly grown in China, Iran, France, Italy, Spain and Greece. In the United States, they are grown in California, South Carolina, and Georgia. California ranks first in the production of Nectarines.
About the Nectarine Tree
Nectarines are deciduous trees that come from the same family as the rose plant. There are two types of nectarine trees – standard Nectarine tree (Prunus persica) and the dwarf Nectarine tree (Prunus persica nucipersica). The standard tree grows to about 25 feet in height whereas the dwarf tree grows to about 5 -10 feet. They grow in the warm temperate regions.
The Nectarine tree has long narrow leaves with serrated edges. The flowers are a deep rose pink to almost white in color. They grow well in warm, dry weather and well-drained soil.
Nectarines are seasonal fruits and are available from May to October. The fruit is a drupe and is single seeded. The Nectarine tree bears fruit only after a year.
There are two types of Nectarines – clingy stone variety and the freestone variety. In the clingy stone variety, the flesh sticks to the pits of the seed and does not separate easily. In the freestone variety, the flesh separates easily from the pits.
Ripe Nectarine fruits are soft to touch. They can be stored without getting spoiled for about five days in the fridge. There are many varieties of Nectarines that are available. Here are some of the popular varieties – Swanzee, Arctic Sweet, Snow Queen, Firebrite, Fantasia, August Glo and Flaming Red.
Nutritional Benefits of Nectarines
Nectarines are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium content. They are a good source of dietary fibre. Nectarines are also rich in Vitamin A, Niacin, and Potassium.
Nectarines help the body to get rid of toxins and help to keep the body healthy. One cup of fresh Nectarines contains 186 mg of lutein and also provides you with iron, folic acid, vitamin K as well as natural sugars that provide energy. Lutein is a nutrient that helps to lower the risk of cancer.
Differences between the Nectarine and Peach
The Nectarine tree and peach tree look almost alike, and it is very hard to tell them apart. The Nectarine can be called the “twin” of the Peachtree. The difference can be found in the fruit structure.
The Nectarine fruit has red, yellow or white flesh. They are commonly eaten fresh or cooked in jams or preserves. They are also used to make delicious desserts.
Nectarines can be grown in your backyard. Here is a video showing how to start off with a Nectarine tree for your backyard.
© 2012 Nithya Venkat