Nectarines grow on peach trees that have been cultivated to produce fruits with smooth skin. This famously fuzz-free variety is often more popular with kids.
Buy: Just like the peach, ripe nectarines are tender to the touch. Nectarines varieties include yellow and white, and freestone (where the pit can be easily separated) and clingstone (where the flesh of the fruit tends to stick to the pit.) Choose fruit that is heavy for its size and smells sweet.
Store: Keep nectarines at room temperature and wash when ready to eat. To ripen the fruit quickly, store nectarines in a closed brown paper bag. You can also store them in the fridge to slow ripening. Remove pits before freezing.
Prepare: Nectarines can be substituted for peaches in any recipe. Many people keep the smooth skin of the fruit on while baking, but it can be peeled easily by blanching the fruit first. You can bake, grill, puree, or freeze nectarines as you would peaches.