Nectarines: Types, Nutrition, Benefits, Selection & Storage

by Ella

Nectarines, often referred to as the smooth-skinned cousins of peaches, are a delicious and nutritious stone fruit that offer a wealth of benefits. They are known for their sweet flavor, juicy texture, and a range of health-promoting nutrients. This article will delve into the different types of nectarines, their nutritional facts, health benefits, and tips for selection and storage.

Types of Nectarines

Nectarines, like peaches, come in several varieties, each with its own unique characteristics. They can be broadly classified into two categories based on their flesh color and pit type: clingstone and freestone.


1. Clingstone Nectarines



Clingstone nectarines have flesh that clings tightly to the pit, making them a bit more challenging to separate but incredibly juicy and flavorful. These varieties are often used in cooking, canning, and making preserves due to their rich taste and high juice content.


Popular Varieties


Arctic Rose: Known for its sweet flavor and firm flesh, Arctic Rose nectarines are a popular clingstone variety.

Flavortop: This variety is prized for its balance of sweetness and acidity, making it ideal for fresh eating and culinary uses.

2. Freestone Nectarines


Freestone nectarines have flesh that easily separates from the pit, making them convenient for slicing and eating fresh. They are often preferred for fresh consumption due to their ease of preparation.

Popular Varieties

Fantasia: Fantasia nectarines are large, with a sweet and tangy flavor. They are one of the most popular freestone varieties.

Red Gold: Known for its vibrant red skin and juicy flesh, Red Gold nectarines are a favorite among fruit lovers.

3. White Flesh Nectarines


White flesh nectarines have a pale, almost translucent flesh with a delicate and sweeter flavor compared to their yellow-fleshed counterparts. They are often less acidic and have a milder taste.

Popular Varieties

Arctic Queen: This variety is known for its incredibly sweet flavor and firm texture.

Snow Queen: Snow Queen nectarines have a juicy, aromatic flavor that makes them a popular choice for fresh eating.

4. Yellow Flesh Nectarines


Yellow flesh nectarines are known for their bright yellow flesh and a balance of sweetness and tartness. They are often more acidic than white flesh varieties, giving them a more robust flavor profile.

Popular Varieties

Independence: This variety is known for its excellent flavor and juicy texture.

Sunglo: Sunglo nectarines are highly regarded for their rich taste and vibrant color.

Nutritional Facts

Nectarines are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. Here’s a detailed look at the nutritional profile of nectarines.



A medium-sized nectarine (about 142 grams) contains approximately 62 calories, making it a low-calorie snack option.


Nectarines are a good source of carbohydrates, with a medium-sized fruit providing around 15 grams. These carbohydrates are primarily natural sugars, which provide a quick source of energy.


Nectarines are a good source of dietary fiber, providing about 2.4 grams per medium fruit. Fiber is essential for digestive health and helps maintain regular bowel movements.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin C

Nectarines are rich in vitamin C, with a medium-sized fruit providing about 12% of the daily recommended intake. Vitamin C is essential for immune function, skin health, and the absorption of iron.

Vitamin A

A medium nectarine provides about 9% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, which is important for vision, immune function, and skin health.


Nectarines are a good source of potassium, providing about 285 mg per medium fruit. Potassium is crucial for maintaining normal blood pressure, muscle function, and nerve transmission.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Nectarines contain niacin, which is essential for energy production, DNA repair, and the functioning of the digestive system.


Nectarines are rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Health Benefits

The impressive nutritional profile of nectarines translates into several health benefits. Here are some of the key health benefits associated with consuming nectarines.

1. Supports Digestive Health

High Fiber Content

The dietary fiber in nectarines aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Fiber also supports a healthy gut microbiome by serving as a prebiotic, which feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut.

2. Boosts Immune System

Rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells. Regular consumption of nectarines can help reduce the duration and severity of colds and other infections.

3. Promotes Skin Health

Antioxidant Properties

The antioxidants in nectarines, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin. They protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and UV radiation, reducing the risk of premature aging and skin cancer.


Nectarines have a high water content, which helps keep the skin hydrated and supple. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and preventing dryness and wrinkles.

4. Supports Heart Health

Potassium Content

Potassium in nectarines helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium. This can reduce the risk of hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

Low in Saturated Fat

Nectarines are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy food choice.

5. Aids in Weight Management

Low-Calorie Snack

Nectarines are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a satisfying snack that can help control hunger and reduce overall calorie intake. Their natural sweetness also makes them a healthier alternative to sugary snacks and desserts.

6. Enhances Vision

Rich in Vitamin A

Vitamin A and its precursor, beta-carotene, are essential for maintaining healthy vision. They help protect the eyes from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These antioxidants found in nectarines help filter harmful blue light and protect the retina, further supporting eye health.

7. Reduces Inflammation

Anti-Inflammatory Compounds

The antioxidants in nectarines, including vitamin C and polyphenols, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. This can be beneficial for individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

8. Supports Bone Health

Vitamin K

Nectarines contain vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Vitamin K helps in the formation of bone proteins and plays a role in maintaining bone mineral density.

Calcium Absorption

The vitamin C in nectarines enhances the absorption of calcium, which is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

9. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Low Glycemic Index

Nectarines have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This makes them a suitable fruit choice for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

10. Enhances Cognitive Function

Antioxidant Protection

The antioxidants in nectarines help protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can impair cognitive function. Regular consumption of nectarines may support brain health and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Selecting Nectarines

Look for Firmness

Choose nectarines that are firm but give slightly to gentle pressure. Avoid those that are too hard or too soft, as they may be underripe or overripe.

Check the Color

A ripe nectarine should have a vibrant color, ranging from yellow to deep red, depending on the variety. Avoid nectarines with green patches, as they are likely underripe.

Smell for Aroma

A ripe nectarine should have a sweet and fragrant aroma. If the fruit lacks a scent, it may not be fully ripe.

Inspect for Blemishes

Look for nectarines that are free from bruises, cuts, or blemishes. Small blemishes may not affect the taste but can shorten the fruit’s shelf life.

Storing Nectarines

Room Temperature

Unripe nectarines can be stored at room temperature until they ripen. To speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with an apple or banana. Once ripe, nectarines should be consumed within a few days.


Ripe nectarines can be stored in the refrigerator to prolong their shelf life. Place them in a plastic bag or container to prevent them from drying out. Refrigerated nectarines can last up to a week.


Nectarines can be frozen for long-term storage. To freeze, wash and dry the nectarines, then slice and remove the pit. Place the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen slices to an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen nectarines can be stored for up to six months.

Innovative Recipes with Nectarines

Nectarine and Arugula Salad


  • 2 ripe nectarines, sliced
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl, combine arugula, nectarine slices, feta cheese, and sliced almonds.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately.

Grilled Nectarines with Honey and Greek Yogurt


  • 4 ripe nectarines, halved and pitted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Brush nectarine halves with olive oil.

Place nectarines cut-side down on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, until grill marks appear.

Flip the nectarines and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the grill and let cool slightly.

Serve grilled nectarines with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

See Also: Peach: Types, Nutritional Facts, Health Benefits, Selection & Storage


Nectarines are not only a delicious treat but also a powerhouse of nutrients that contribute to overall health and well-being. Whether you prefer them fresh, in a salad, or as part of a dessert, nectarines offer versatility and a wealth of health benefits. By understanding the different types, nutritional facts, health benefits, and proper selection and storage methods, you can make the most of this wonderful fruit and incorporate it into your daily diet. Enjoy the sweet, juicy goodness of nectarines while reaping the numerous health advantages they provide.



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