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When Are Nectarines in Season?

By Team Fetch

April 23, 2024

Here’s a fun fact liable to make your mouth water: the word “nectarine” comes from the Latin word “nectar,” which literally means sweet and was supposedly the favored food of Greek gods. If you want to sample some of that godly sweetness while getting a healthy dose of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and niacin into the bargain, better watch out for nectarine season.

When is nectarine season? It runs from around the end of April to the end of August, with the season peaking in the summer months of June, July, and August. You’ll tend to see prices increase in May-June and then again in November-December, while sales are going to pick up from June through to September and then again from February to March.

The grocery experts here at Fetch want to fill you in on how to pick the best nectarines, store them perfectly, and then use them like a pro.

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Where Do Nectarines Grow?

Nectarines grow on trees that require a whole lot of sunshine, which means California is the ideal place. Over a whopping 95% of nectarines grown in the US come from the Golden State, but you can always check farmers markets between July and August since many smaller growers produce nectarines in other states – you might even find a few farms nearby where you can pick them yourself.

Info on nectarine season in the United States

How to Pick Nectarines at the Grocery Store

Nectarines aren’t the most commonly consumed fruit, so plenty of shoppers find themselves at a loss while trying to pick out the best ones at their local store. Not a problem – there are actually quite a few convenient strategies for choosing the most elite of nectarines.

Here’s what to look for when shopping for nectarines:

  • Color: Look beyond the outer red to the nectarine’s undertones. A yellow nectarine should have golden undertones, while a white one should have pale yellow undertones. Avoid nectarines with greenish hues – these were picked too early.
  • Smell: Pick up each prospective nectarine and take a sniff. Good nectarines have a sweet, strong aroma much like a particularly potent peach.
  • Skin: If you notice any bruises, blemishes, or wrinkles, put that nectarine back and look for one with smooth, unbroken skin.
  • Indent: Nectarines push against the branch as they ripen, creating a telltale indent that’s shaded from the sun and lets you know the fruit is nice and ripe.
  • Feel: Give each nectarine a gentle squeeze. If you’ll be using them right away, look for ones that are slightly soft. If you’ll be using them in a few days, go for fruit that’s a little harder.
  • Size: Go for medium to large nectarines for the juiciest flesh and sweetest flavor. Extra-large ones may be mealy and bland, whereas small ones are usually hard and unripe.

How Long Do Nectarines Last in the Fridge?

You’re best off eating nectarines when they’re perfectly ripe, but you can’t always pick up fresh produce the very day you’ll be eating it. Here’s how long you can expect your nectarines to last based on where you’ll be keeping them:

  • In the fridge: 3-5 days, once they’re ripe.
  • On the kitchen counter: 2-3 days, until they fully ripen.
  • In the freezer: Up to 6 months.

Signs that a nectarine is ripe

How to Store Nectarines to Maximize Their Freshness

Nobody wants to bite into a mushy nectarine, and nobody should have to. To prevent such calamitous misfortune, simply follow these tips for storing your nectarines:

  • Unripe Nectarines: You can tell a nectarine is unripe if it’s a little hard. Store these on the counter out of direct sunlight until they soften – this should take 1 to 3 days, but you can speed things up by placing them in a paper bag at room temperature.
  • Ripe Nectarines: Once fully ripe, nectarines can be stored in the fridge. They should be good for a few days, after which you’ll notice the flavor and texture start to decline.

How to Eat a Nectarine the Right Way

We’ll go into cutting and de-pitting a nectarine below, but suppose you’re the kind of daredevil who’d rather bite right in? We have you covered there, too.

  1. Bring to Room Temperature: Nectarines taste their best at room temp, so take out any you’ve been storing in the fridge and place them on the counter for a while before eating.
  2. Wash Your Nectarine: Run the fruit under tap water, turning it in your hands until the surface has been completely rinsed and is free of dirt or debris.
  3. Peel (If You Like): Nectarine skin is fine to eat, but some dislike the texture or taste. A vegetable peeler works perfectly well, but you can get a little fancier by placing the nectarine in boiling water, leaving for a minute, then transferring to cold water. Once cool, the nectarine’s skin should slip right off.
  4. Eat Carefully: You can now enjoy your nectarine, but remember not to bite too far into the center or you’ll risk hitting the pit.

Tips on storing nectarines

How to Cut a Nectarine Properly

Biting right into a nectarine is a risky proposition indeed thanks to the hard stone pit concealed at the center. To enjoy this sweet little number without risk, think about cutting yours into slices.

Here’s how:

  1. Cut into the stem end of the nectarine with a sharp paring knife until you reach the stone, then run the knife around the fruit.
  2. Remove the knife and gently twist the two halves apart.
  3. Use the tip of your paring knife to remove the stone, then discard it and slice the remaining nectarine to your desired thickness.

Can Dogs Eat Nectarines?

Nectarines can make a healthy treat for your dog, but only when served up in moderation. The minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants in each one can improve digestive health and boost your pooch’s immune system, but you’ll want to wash fruit thoroughly to remove pesticides and preservatives, then take out the pit and keep portions on the small side.

Can Cats Eat Nectarines?

It’s not a huge deal if your cat manages to swipe a tiny piece of nectarine from your plate, but they can suffer from indigestion and high blood sugar if they consume too much – more importantly, the pits can present hazards while the leaves and stems can be toxic. Your cat gets all the good stuff they need from meat alone, so only give them about a fingertip worth every week or two.

How to Make Nectarine Jam

No canning skills required for this tangy-sweet jam, and it can all come together in around an hour. Spread it on toast, stir it into yogurt, or use it to punch up your morning oatmeal – there’s really no wrong answer with this tasty preserve.


  • 4-½ cups (around 3 lbs.) of fully ripe nectarines
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 box or 49g powdered pectin
  • ½ teaspoon butter or margarine

Recipe for canning nectarine jam with a hot water bath:

  1. Fill your boiling-water canner halfway with water, then bring to a simmer.
  2. Wash jars and screw bands in warm soapy water, then rinse with warm water.
  3. Place flat lids in a saucepan off the heat, then pour over boiling water and let stand until ready to use, draining before filling.
  4. Pit and finely chop your nectarines, then measure 4-½ cups into a large heavy-duty pot before stirring in the lemon juice.
  5. Stir in the pectin, then add the butter to reduce foaming. Bring your mixture to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in the sugar, then return to a rolling boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring frequently and bringing the heat down if the mixture gets too close to the top of the pot.
  7. Remove from the heat, then use a metal spoon to skim off any foam.
  8. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, leaving a quarter inch gap at the top of each.
  9. Wipe jar rims and threads, then cover with two-piece lids and screw bands tightly.
  10. Place jars on an elevated rack in the canner, then lower jars until they are covered by 1 to 2 inches of water, adding more boiling water if necessary.
  11. Cover, then bring water to a gentle boil.
  12. Process for 10 minutes, then remove jars and place upright on a towel until completely cooled. When the lids don’t spring back, you’ve got a good seal.

Recipe when you’re storing nectarine jam in the refrigerator or freezer:

  1. Pit and finely chop your nectarines, then measure 4½ cups into a large saucepot.
  2. Add lemon juice and stir well.
  3. Stir in the pectin, then add the butter to reduce foaming.
  4. Bring your mixture to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in the sugar, then return to a rolling boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from the heat, then skim off any foam using a metal spoon.
  7. Immediately ladle into prepared jars, leaving a half inch gap at the top of each. Wipe down the rims and threads, then cover with two-piece lids and screw bands tightly.
  8. Allow jam to sit at room temperature until cooled completely, then store in the fridge or freezer.

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