How to preserve nectarines

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “how to preserve nectarines”, and discuss the different methods used to preserve nectarines. We will also look at selecting the best nectarines for preservation.

How to preserve nectarines

Globally, leading peach and nectarine producing countries are China (14,300,000 tons), Spain (1,800,000 tons), Italy (1,250,000 tons), Greece (938,000 tons), United States (775,000 tons), and Turkey (771,000 tons). Turkey’s peach and nectarine production has increased from 430,000 tons in 2000 to 547,219 tons in 2009 and reached 771,000 tons in 2017. This production consists of nectarine (8%) and peaches (92%) (1).

Nectarines can be preserved by refrigerating, freezing, dehydrating and canning.

Nectarines are a variety of peaches characterized by smooth skin instead of the usually fuzzy skin of peaches. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants (1). 

How to store unripe nectarines

Nectarines have to be harvested when mature, but not ripe, to permit long-distance transport with minimal injuries. This stage does not necessarily imply that the product meets the maturity requirements for immediate use. Harvesting at the proper stage of maturity is essential for the maintenance of fruit quality after harvest. Stone fruits picked at the ‘well-mature stage’ normally produce sufficient ethylene to initiate ripening to assure consumer satisfaction (2).

Unripe nectarines must be stored at room temperature. It will take 2-3 days for the nectarines to ripen completely.

To speed up the ripening process, store the nectarines in a plastic or paper bag with holes cut to facilitate airflow. Place the bag at room temperature away from sunlight.

How to preserve nectarines by refrigerating

Cold storage of peaches and nectarines after harvest is necessary to minimize excessive softening, quality loss and decay and to prolong time for marketing. Storage of peaches at low, nonfreezing temperatures is limited due to the development of internal breakdown or chilling injury symptoms such as internal and external browning, flesh breakdown, woolliness, reddish discoloration, loss of ability to ripen and increased incidence of decay. Decreases in fruit flesh firmness occur at a higher rate during shelf life as the cold storage is extended (3).

Ripe nectarines can be preserved for a few days by refrigeration as the cold temperature slows down the ripening process. Ripe nectarines can be preserved for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

To refrigerate nectarines:

  • Place the nectarines in a ziplock bag or an airtight container.
  • Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

How to preserve nectarines by freezing

The main advantage of preserving fruits by freezing is the extended usage of frozen fruits during the off-season. Additionally, frozen fruits can be transported to remote markets that cannot be accessed with fresh fruit. The preservation of fruits by freezing has clearly become one of the most important preservation methods, especially for the processing industry (juice, jam, canned, etc.), and the utilization of frozen fruit for direct consumption by consumers is less frequently employed (4).

Freezing reserves of nectarines for about 1 year (5). To preserve nectarines by freezing:

  • Wash and peel the nectarines.
  • Slice the nectarines into desired thickness.
  • Place the nectarine slices on a tray or a baking sheet and freeze them.
  • Transfer the frozen nectarine slices into a zip lock bag.
  • Squeeze out the air, label the bag and freeze and place it back in the freezer.

Frozen nectarines can be used in baking, cooking and can also be eaten on their own. 

How to preserve nectarines by dehydrating

Drying is one of the oldest and most important thermal processing techniques aimed at reducing water activity, inactivating enzymes and restrain deteriorative microbial growth (7).

Dehydrating preserves nectarines for about 1 year (6). 

Nectarines can be dehydrated by using a food dehydrator, using an oven or by sun-drying.

Using a food dehydrator is the most efficient and easiest way to dehydrate nectarines. Using a food dehydrator better preserves the nutrients in nectarines compared to using an oven or sun-drying. The only drawback of using a food dehydrator is that the process takes about 18 hours to complete.

Using an oven to dehydrate nectarines is a faster method. However, the nectarines must be closely monitored to make sure that they don’t burn.

Sun-drying is the most time-consuming method of dehydrating nectarines. For sun-drying to be effective, the temperature must be at least 30 °C. Sun-drying also results in a loss of nutrients.

To prepare the nectarines for dehydrating: 

  • Wash and peel the nectarines.
  • Cut the nectarines into halves and remove the pits.
  • Slice the nectarines into desired thickness. 
  • Soak the slices in lemon juice or citric acid. This will prevent the nectarine slices from browning.

To dehydrate nectarines using a food dehydrator:

  • Place the nectarine slices on the dehydrator tray with gaps in between the slices.
  • Dehydrate at 60 °C for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Store the dehydrated nectarines in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

To dehydrate nectarines using an oven:

  • Place the nectarine slices on baking sheets and place them in the oven.
  • Set the oven temperature to the lowest possible setting.
  • Allow the nectarines to dry for about 8 hours. Check the nectarine slices once every hour to ensure that the temperature is not too high and that the slices have not burnt.
  • Store the dehydrated nectarines in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

To dehydrate nectarines by sun-drying:

  • Spread the nectarine slices on a tray and then in sunlight until they are completely dry.
  • Store the dehydrated nectarines in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

How to preserve nectarines by canning

About 40% of peaches produced in the United States are processed into canned products, mostly halves and slices. Clingstone peaches are commonly used for commercial canning, as they are able to retain flavor and consistency. In most cases, peaches are canned within 24 hours of delivery to the processing plant, which ensures that the peaches maintain nutritional value and flavor (8).

Canning preserves nectarines for the longest time. 

If the nectarines are canned into sterile jars and processed in a water bath, they can be stored for about 2 years. If they are not processed in a water bath, they must be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks.

Nectarines are usually canned in a sugar or honey syrup. Other fruits such as blueberries and spices can also be added to enhance the flavor. There are several recipes for canning nectarines. One such recipe can be found here.

How to select the best nectarines for preservation

Most preservation methods such as dehydration and canning require the fruit to be ripe. For best results, it is recommended to purchase partially ripe fruits and allow them to ripen at home.

The ripeness of nectarines can be identified by their (9):

  • Color: Ripe nectarines range from yellow to reddish yellow while unripe nectarines are green.
  • Aroma: Unripe nectarines exude little aroma while ripe nectarines exude a rich, sweet aroma.
  • Texture: Nectarines become softer as they ripen. Over-ripe nectarine will be too soft and have bruised spots while unripe nectarines will be too hard.

Other FAQs about Fruits that you may be interested in.

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In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve nectarines”, and discussed the different methods used to preserve nectarines. We also looked at selecting the best nectarines for preservation.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


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  3. ÇELİK, MURAT, AHMET ERHAN ÖZDEMİR, and ELİF ERTÜRK. Changes in some quality parameters of the perfect delight nectarine cultivar during cold storage and shelf life. Turkish j agric forest, 2006, 30, 253-260.
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