Nectarines and peaches are stone fruits and are related to each other. They are a bit similar except nectarines are smooth on the outside while peaches have soft, fuzzy skin. Both are red in colour with yellow to yellowish-white background. They are sold in yellow or white variety.
They have a pointed, furrowed, egg-shaped seed in the middle which either comes away easily (freestone), or is difficult to remove (clingstone).
Nutritionally, nectarines and peaches are also similar. Both white and yellow-fleshed varieties are good sources of vitamin C and dietary fibre and have some vitamin E. They are a good source of potassium. Yellow-fleshed varities have more beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A.
White varieties often taste sweeter than traditional yellow nectarines and peaches - this all boils down to sugar and acid levels. The overall acid content of white peaches and nectarines tends to be lower than yellow varieties with some having very little acid at all. Because there is little acid to get in the way of sugars, the fruit tastes sweeter.
HOW TO SELECT
With nectarines, select those which are fragrant, firm, plump and richly coloured with smooth, glossy skin.
When buying peaches, select those which are firm and plump that yield to gentle pressure. Avoid green, extra-hard, bruised or blemished fruit.
HOW TO STORE
Store peaches and nectarines at room temperature until ripe — this usually takes 2 to 3 days. A ripe fruit will yield a bit when pressed gently. To speed up the ripening process, place nectarines or peaches in a paper bag and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Storing ripe stone fruit in the crisper drawer will prolong its eating life — it should keep for up to a week when refrigerated.