Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Nectarine
Things are looking up in London. The never ending rain finally ended, and the sun we’ve all been dreaming on the past few months is finally making a reappearance, bringing along with it the beginnings of summers seasonal fruit. One of the first onto the scene, nectarines come into season in Europe around mid-June, and stick around until September - a true summer stone fruit.
In varieties such as Peregrine, with it’s white fleshed super-sweet fruit and Red Haven, boasting yellow flesh and a distinct flavour, nectarines are the perfect accompaniment to warm evenings and al fresco dining. Whether left to ripen and added to desserts and drinks, or sliced and added to salads and savoury dishes, they're a kitchen staple throughout the summer months.
And a good one for you too - they’re a rich source of beta-carotone (hence their colour) which has antioxidant effects in the body, as well as vitamin C which helps to repair and heal. Native to China, but now grown elsewhere, yellow fleshed varieties are the most common in the UK and as with a lot of stone fruit, they don't continue to ripen once picked (they only soften), so go for firm fruit, bright in colour.
- A treat on their own, our favourite way to enjoy nectarines will always be straight from the punnet (or freshly picked if you're lucky!). But the team is split - half like them crunchy and only just ripe, others like them juicier once they've softened.
- 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 sliced nectarines for 10 minutes in a little water with any other fruits or spices should you wish then add to your go to pie/crumble/cobbler recipe. Or do as we do, and make individual nectarine crumbles. Simply sprinkle some honey-soaked oats and sunflower seeds on half a nectarine then bake for 15-20mins on 180C.
- Stewed nectarines are also a great addition to overnight oats - the perfect breakfast option on a summer morning. We like ours chilled overnight then topped with vanilla oats.
- Need a quick breakfast? Grilled nectarines with coconut yoghurt and 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. Summer evenings, sorted.