Nectarines: peaches without the fuzz? Well, not exactly. Nectarines are similar to peaches, both originating in China more than 2000 years
ago, and cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were
introduced to America by the Spanish. Nectarines are smaller than peaches and have a smooth golden yellow skin with shades of red. The
yellow flesh often may have a pink tinge, and they have a distinct aroma and more pronounced flavor than the peach. Today, California
grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States. They are generally available from April to late August at the market.
Summer is a great time to find fresh, ripe nectarines in the produce section. There are more than 100 varieties of nectarine, including
freestone, or clingstone varieties. The freestone types separate from the pit easily, whereas the flesh of the clingstone type clings to the pit.
Like peaches, nectarines are low in calories with only about 30-40 calories each. They are also fat free and sodium-free. Each nectarine
provides 1 gram of dietary fiber and is a good source of vitamins A and C.
Baked Nectarines with Ricotta and Amaretti biscuits
Calories per serving: 205.
2 nectarines, halved and stoned
2 oz. ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon clear honey
1 ozamaretti biscuits, crushed (about 4 small cookies)
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the nectarines, cut halves facing up, on a baking tray.
3. Beat together the ricotta cheese, honey, crushed Amaretti biscuits and Amaretto liqueur
4. Spoon the cheese mixture on top of each nectarine halves, pressing down slightly. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
5. Bake the nectarines for 15 minutes. Serve warm.