Choosing Wisely: The Perfect Nectarine

Eating healthfully in the summer time, for many, is the easiest time to keep on track.  

Whether it comes down to the desire to eat a lighter meal because it’s hot outside or the vast array of local produce available, or for some, the impetus to look great at the beach, the end result is the same: we collectively tend to eat more fruit and veg in comparison to the cold, dark days of winter, when heavy and hearty may more often be the norm.

The process of choosing fruit is rather enjoyable in and of itself, too.

What’s better than choosing the perfect nectarine at the farmer’s market, giving it a quick rinse and biting into the most incredibly, juicy flesh?

Simply heavenly, isn’t it?

But what happens when you went to the effort of picking a good candidate for a sweet, natural treat and that first bite is spoiled by a mouthful of…mush?  What went wrong?

I, for one, have been fooled many a time by thinking I’ve chosen wisely based on color and smell, only to find out the hard way that I made a big mistake.

A little research online offered the following suggestions:

  • Choose medium to large nectarines. A gigantic one will be mealy, and a very small one was probably picked too green.
  • Often your best bet will be to buy nectarines that are still firm, take them home, and let them ripen out on the counter a day or two, until they have a little give and develop a wonderful fragrance. You can refrigerate a nectarine when it’s fully ripe, but only for a day or two. Longer refrigeration will rob the fruit of its juice and flavor, and, as with tomatoes, can result in a mealy texture
  • Buy local and in season.   Delicate stone fruit that have come a long way don’t tend to fare very well, nor do they help the environment with their huge carbon footprint.
  • Ask the produce manager or vendor at the farmer’s market to try a sample.   You’ll not only save time and money, you may learn a thing or two about choosing wisely and also have a quick little snack!

When you do find some perfect nectarines, don’t be afraid to buy more than you need.  They freeze beautifully and will serve as a decadent, but still oh-so-Paleo treat.