Say hello to the white nectarine, a sweet and juicy white nectarine with a floral flavor and lower acidity than yellow nectarines. Here’s everything you need to know about white nectarines!
What is a White Nectarine?
White nectarines are a variety of stone fruit that is closely related to the yellow nectarine and peach, but what sets it apart is its pale, smooth skin and its flesh, which is creamy white instead of the traditional yellow or orange. White nectarines are known for their exceptionally sweet and slightly floral flavor, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a milder, less acidic taste compared to yellow nectarines or peaches.
Where did the name nectarine come from? And what does it mean? The answer is at the end of this post!
Difference Between White and Yellow Nectarines
White nectarines are a distinct variety of nectarines with their own unique characteristics in appearance, taste, and texture. Let’s look at each.
Appearance: The most apparent difference between white and yellow nectarines is, of course, their skin color. White nectarines have a pale, creamy, or light greenish-yellow skin with a slight blush, resembling the appearance of white peaches. In contrast, yellow nectarines typically have a bright orange-yellow skin that is often more vibrant and intensely colored. The skin of white nectarines is also smoother and less fuzzy than that of yellow nectarines, making them more visually appealing to some consumers.
Taste: The taste of white nectarines is a defining feature. They are a bit sweeter with a delicate, floral flavor, and often have a milder acidity compared to yellow nectarines. This subtle sweetness is often described as honey-like or reminiscent of tropical fruits. In contrast, yellow nectarines tend to be tangier and have a more pronounced tartness and robust peachy flavor. White nectarines are a good option for those who like a sweeter, less acidic fruit.
Texture: White nectarines have a tender, juicy, and melting flesh. The texture is often likened to a ripe pear or a watermelon, giving them a succulent and refreshing quality. Yellow nectarines, while also juicy, can be slightly firmer and more resilient to handling.
White Nectarine Origin
Nectarines (white and yellow) are a cultivar of peaches. They were created by a natural genetic mutation that gave them their smooth skin without the fuzzy surface that characterizes peaches.
They are believed to have originated in China as much as 3,000 years ago. They were later introduced to the Mediterranean region through trade along the silk road, and subsequently to the United States during the early 19th Century.
Where are White Nectarines Grown?
White nectarines are primarily grown in regions with warm, temperate climates. They thrive in areas like California which produces 95% of the nectarines grown in the USA. China is the world’s leading producer growing more than the rest of the world combined. Other countries, such as Australia, South Africa, and several Mediterranean countries also cultivate white nectarines. The fruit requires a frost-free growing season, plenty of sunlight, and well-drained soil to flourish. They are actually grown on every continent except Antarctica where pretty much nothing grows least of all nectarines.
Best White Nectarine Uses
Any nectarine can be enjoyed fresh, sliced over cereal or yogurt, or in fruit salads. You can also spruce up your green salad with nectarine. Of course the super-power of nectarines is in desserts like pies, tarts, cobbler, or a sweet nectarine crisp. They also add a luscious, sweet flavor to jams and preserves. Furthermore, they can be grilled to enhance their natural sugars, paired with savory dishes, or added to cocktails and smoothies.
We assert that you can use white or yellow nectarines interchangeably, and can use either nectarine interchangeably with peaches. They really aren’t all that different. Give them a try in this Grilled Peach Caprese. You probably know that there are white peaches as well. If you want to know more about that check out our guide.
White Nectarine Nutrition Info
White nectarines are not only delicious but also a healthy choice. A medium-sized white nectarine (150g or about 5 ounces) contains:
- 64 Calories
- 15 grams of carbs
- 1 gram of protein
- 2 grams of fiber
- 15% of the RDA of Vitamin C
- 1% of the RDA of Vitamin A
- 6% of the RDA of Potassium
There isn’t much difference in nutrition content in white vs yellow nectarines except in their Vitamin A content. Like most yellow & orange fruits, yellow nectarines contain a healthy dose of beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A.
How to Select White Nectarines
Selecting the best nectarines at the grocery store or market is crucial to ensuring you enjoy their sweetness and juiciness. Here are some tips for selecting ripe white nectarines:
Look for Color and Texture: Choose nectarines that have a creamy white skin with a hint of yellow or pink blush. The fruit should be firm but yield slightly to gentle pressure, indicating ripeness. Avoid nectarines with green or hard spots, as they may not be fully ripe.
Smell the Fruit: Ripe white nectarines have a sweet, fragrant aroma. Give them a gentle sniff; a pleasant, fruity scent is a good sign of ripeness.
Check for Blemishes: Inspect the nectarines for bruises, cuts, or soft spots. A blemish-free fruit is more likely to be of high quality.
Weight and Heaviness: Heavier nectarines tend to be juicier. Pick up a few and compare their weight in your hand to gauge which ones are likely to be the juiciest.
How to Store Nectarines
To keep nectarines fresh and flavorful, follow these storage tips:
Room Temperature: If your nectarines are not fully ripe when you purchase them, leave them at room temperature to ripen. They will become softer and sweeter over a few days. White nectarines are best eaten within a few days of ripening. They can become overripe quickly, so be vigilant in consuming them to savor their delicious flavor at its peak.
Refrigeration: Once ripe, store white nectarines in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process and extend their shelf life. Place them in a plastic or paper bag to prevent them from absorbing strong odors from the fridge.
Freezing: You can freeze nectarines for up to six months. Slice the nectarines into quarters or eights and remove the pit. Put them in a dated airtight bag and toss them in the freezer. We don’t recommend eating them raw after thawing. Fresh nectarines are much better for that, but use them instead in your smoothies or desserts.
This concludes our look at white nectarines. They really aren’t dramatically different from yellow nectarines and are so closely related to peaches that you can use one in lieu of the other. We hope you found this article useful, and as always Happy Cooking from your friends at Live Eat Learn!
When nectarines reached Ancient Greece the juice from the fruit was called “Nectar of the Gods”. From this came the name nectarine.