Peaches and nectarines are some of our favorite Summer fruits. The two fruits are remarkably similar, with the most pronounced difference being the fuzz or lack thereof. Some say there’s a slight flavor difference as well, with peaches having a slight muskiness while nectarines bear more of a lemony note. Whichever fruit you prefer it’s important to know how to choose and store these wonderful fruits.
How to choose: One key to choosing a great nectarine or peach is the color. Not the red blush, they all have that, but the background color around the stem. Green means the fruit isn’t ripe yet and could use another day or two on your countertop at room temperature. Yellow is good but a nectarine or peach with an orange gold color will give you the best sweetness and flavor. A good peach or nectarine will give slightly when gently pressed at the shoulder or tip area, near the stem. A slight give indicates a sweet and juicy fruit.
Pro tip: Look for the wrinkles. On close examination, a ripe peach or nectarine will develop small wrinkles near the stem. This happens due to water evaporating through the fruit’s porous skin after being picked. The evaporation concentrates the flavors of the fruit within the skin and causes slight wrinkles around the stem.
How to store: Peaches and nectarines will continue to ripen after they’ve been picked and very often will be purchased green and require ripening at home. Never chill peaches and nectarines before they’re fully ripe. This results in a mealy, flavorless fruit. Storing the fruit stem side down in a single layer, to avoid bruising, will give the best results.