Sweet Nectarines – From My Garden. Winning the Prize.

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My nectarine tree looks beautiful in a garden bed in the front of house. It is lovely simply as a good looking tree, but it also shares its sweet fruit for a week or so in July.  Getting the fruit from tree to kitchen isn’t always easy. It’s a race between the birds, squirrels, bugs and me to see who gets to eat the prized fruit. This year I got the prize.

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My nectarine tree is dwarf, about 7 feet tall.  I can reach up and pick all the fruit.  But first I have to make sure there is any fruit.  Nectarines grow under the lush leaves and can’t be seen unless you look up into the tree from below.  I am always surprised to see any.

 

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The fruit can’t be picked too early, or it won’t ripen, but it can’t be picked too late because then something else will eat it.  I waited until the colors were turning warm with some red,  and each nectarine was large enough to fit in my palm.  They were not ripe yet, but soon. I took them in the house to finish sweetening up.

 

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A few days earlier I had picked a few and tried ripening them in a brown paper bag.  Not a good idea.  Some of them turned soft and rotted and the rest didn’t really do well.  So  online I found  a suggestion for ripening peaches another way.  The suggestions was to find a spot on a counter or table where the peaches or nectarines can sit for up to four or five days. Lay a soft cloth, linen or cotton, on a table or counter and then place each piece of fruit on the cloth with space in between. Don’t let the fruits touch each other.

 

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The nectarines were hard, dry and not ripe when I put them on the cloth.  Some of the fruit had bug damage, but I had never sprayed anything on them.  So they were organic and neglected until I picked them.

 

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The online suggestion was to put another cloth over all of the laid out fruit, and then let them ripen on their own for a few days. I left them on a counter with the windows open in the somewhat cool, for St. Louis, summer temperatures.  I took the top cloth off daily to check on the ripeness.  Some ripened in a couple of days and others took about four or five.

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Although it doesn’t look like a big difference, the now sweetened nectarines were soft, sugary and juicy.

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Most of the  nectarines were not perfect looking.  I  cut off  the bruised or bug eaten parts.  The remaining pieces had  sweet soft flesh and  juices.  Once I cut the pieces and put them in a bowl they lasted for days in the refrigerator.  The tastes were heaven.

 

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I don’t remember what exactly is the name of my nectarine tree.   I bought it at a garden center when it was in a big pot about four feet tall.  That was about five years ago.  I have had fruit for about at least four if not five years.  Last July I was gone for several weeks,  that year the birds and squirrels had a feast and I missed out.  Hopefully next year I will get to savor some more of these fruits of heaven.

And if you’d like your own nectarines, or other fruit trees, check out what might work for you at Stark Brother’s Mail Order Nursery in Louisiana, Missouri.  It’s a short drive up the Mississippi River from St. Louis or they ship through the mail.

 

 

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