Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Nectarines

With the beginning of this week marking the beginning of summer (in true British style, with a day of torrential rain and grey skies), it's officially the start of stone fruit season - with bountiful trays of bright reds, oranges and yellows taking their place next to the punnet's of berries. And this weeks spotlight goes to nectarines, one of the first onto the scene. Left to ripen and oozing with flavour, the first bite (and unavoidable juice dribble) is the perfect partner to summer's warmer weather. Versatile enough to add to salads, desserts, drinks and breakfast too, they're a kitchen staple for the next couple of months.

Not only a flavoursome treat, they're also a rich source of beta-carotone (hence their colour) which as antioxidant effects in the body, as well as vitamin C which helps repair and heal. Native to China, but now grown elsewhere, you can find light pink, white or yellow fleshed varieties, the latter being the most common in the UK. As with a lot of stone fruit, they don't continue to ripen once picked, so go for firm fruit, bright in colour.

RECIPE IDEAS 

- A treat on their own, our favourite way to enjoy nectarines will always be raw. The team is split - half like them crunchy and only just ripe, others like them juicier once they've softened, but both are a treat!

- As seems to be the case with all British fruit, nectarines make a great addition to a crumble (or cobbler, pie or galette). Simply stew the nectarines for 10 minutes in a little water with any other fruits or spices should you wish then add to your go to recipes. Or do as we do, and make individual nectarine crumbles. Find the recipe below! 

- Stewed nectarines are also a great addition to overnight oats on a summer morning. We like ours chilled overnight then topped with vanilla oats. 

- Need a quick breakfast? Grilled nectarines with coconut yoghurt topped with granola is always a winner.

- Try serving your next weekend pancakes with grilled nectarine too - a great option other than the usual berries or banana. 

- Nectarines are also perfect in salads. Grilled or fresh and sliced, try serving with spinach, avocado, micro greens and radish with a balsamic dressing. Perfect on a summer evening. 


INDIVIDUAL NECTARINE CRISPS

NGREDIENTS

- 4 nectarines
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup gluten free oats
- 1/4 cup mixed seeds
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch himalayan salt
- 1 tsp honey (optional) 

METHOD

Serves 4 

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and cover a baking tray with parchment paper
2. Cut the nectarines in half, and remove the stone
3. Carve a spoon-sized hole out of each half
4. Cut a small sliver off the bottom of each nectarine so they sit flatly on a baking tray
5. Lightly coat the nectarines with coconut oil
6. Mix the rest of the ingredients together until clumps start to form
7. Spoon the mixture into the nectarine halves
8. Bake for 20-25mins until golden
9. Remove from the oven, and serve warm.