Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Why am I so in love with nectarines? I feel like I could eat nectarines all day everyday, and today after I ate 9 nectarines I wondered what is in nectarines that my body is adoring? So I asked my trusty friend the internet and heres what I found....
Nectarines can be traced back to ancient China, where peaches and nectarines were very symbolic and revered fruits. Nectarines required even more diligence to grow, since they were more vulnerable to mold and peach rot. As trade expanded between China and the West, nectarines became even more popular. European manuscripts dating to 1616 offer the first references to nectarines in the Western world.
The fruit we call nectarines is virtually identical to the fruit we call peaches, except for one noticeable feature. The skin of most peaches contains fuzz, while the skin of nectarines is smooth. The same mutation responsible for the smooth skin is also responsible for the spicier taste and slightly smaller size of nectarines. Nectarines and peaches both grow from the same parent peach trees, which have been known to produce examples of both fruits at the same time. Essentially there are no nectarine trees, only peach trees with a genetic mutation. Wow I did not know that...genetic mutation! What the?!? At a basic level, mutation causes a gene or genetic sequence to change from its original or intended purpose. It can be caused by a variety of internal or external sources, and the effects can be positive or negative for the organism that undergoes mutation.
Because nectarines are the result of genetic mutation, growers must rely on transplanted strains of peach trees known to produce them. Certain peach trees are identified as having at least one recessive nectarine gene, so they are often mated with other strains likely to contain recessive genes. Only a successful pairing of two recessive genes will guarantee a yield of nectarines.
Nectarines are similar to peaches when it comes to their pits. Some nectarines contain freestone pits, while others are considered clinging. Freestone nectarine pits, which are not as convoluted as peach pits, can be removed from the fruit easily. Cling-style pits, on the other hand, are deeply embedded in the flesh and must be removed mechanically. Some consider nectarines to be more flavorful than peaches, and much easier to eat. Nectarines do have a spicier quality than peaches, and the flesh is generally firmer. I prefer to eat nectarines instead of peaches, and in fact I don't actually eat peaches...ever.
The 'what's so' in nectarines
-Yellow-fleshed nectarines have higher levels of beta carotene. Beta-Carotene also helps prevent night blindness and other eye problems, skin disorders, enhance immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations, colds, flu, and infections. It is an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process.
-Both white and yellow-fleshed varieties are good sources of vitamin C and dietary fibre
-Our sweetness comes from our natural sugar content.
-Nectarines provide an excellent amount of Vitamin A and a significant amount of Vitamin C.
Wow, no wonder I love nectarines!!! :)
Did you know?
-We take our name from ‘nectar’ - the food of the gods
-We come from the same family as the rose and are also related to the almond
-In Australia we’re available from September to April but at our peak in January and February. In USA California nectarines are available from May through September while imports are available from January through April.
Experts suggest placing ripening nectarines into a loosely folded paper bag at room temperature, along with an unripe banana. The fruit should reach its maximum ripeness after a few days. When buying nectarines, look for signs of bruising or mold. Avoid buying nectarines with any green patches-- they may not ripen before spoiling.
Challenges: I always thought I was a pig for craving and eating so many nectarines, and now I get my body was craving and loving the vitamin A an C and the beta carotene which enhances immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations, colds, flu, and infections. It is an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process. And of course the sweetness!
Triumphs: Do not deny yourself any fruit or vegetable, if you crave it eat it, your body is wanting that vitamin, eat as much as you want!!!! Mmmm mmm mmm fruit and vegetables, the foods of the gods :)
What I Ate Today:
Breakfast: 6 nectarines.
Lunch: A avocado with sprouts. A green tea.
Dinner: Indian rice with dahl and potatoes. Half a cucumber.
Dessert: Grapes and two nectarines.
Snacks: One nectarine.
Exercise: gym...ab work...leg work...20 minute cardio and steam room. Oh and fight choregraph for the film I am currently working on "The Man In The Maze". Here is a photo of lead actor Andrew Roth and I, I attack his character in a scene and the rest is a surprise ;)
225 days to go!