A delicious fruit

Well, it’s been five months now and it seems as if the pandemic is never going to end. I miss being around people, having breakfast after church on Sunday, half a dozen or so of us going to lunch together and all those other things I’ve gotten used to since I moved here. My friends and I talk together on the phone frequently and I do have several that I can associate with, as they also mostly stay to themselves, we meet, ‘socially distance’ ourselves from one another and visit. My sister and I get together occasionally and luckily, my children call frequently, but, as much as I fussed about having to attend, I miss my meetings and gift shop days! It’s been a blessing that they re-opened the pool at the Hospital for exercise and that gives me something I can do several times each week. But, as the saying goes: “This too shall pass”, and with lots of prayer we will get through it.
Have you been noticing nectarines in the produce section of the grocery store? What do they look like to you? Do you know what they are? Someone had told me they were a peach/plum cross, but I never knew for sure. They taste pretty much like a peach as far as I am concerned! The following is what I was able to find on the Internet. After checking out several sites that all gave me pretty much the same information, I sort of combined several articles to get this article.
Basically, according to what I was able to find, a nectarine is a peach without fuzz! They are not a combination of a peach and a plum as some folks think. Nectarines have juicy, peach colored flesh and the seed is very similar to that of a peach but without the “fuzzy” complexion. Nectarines most probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. The word “nectarine” means sweet, as nectar, and this is probably the obvious origin of the name.
At this time, California grows most of the nectarines produced in the United States. And, interesting to note, peach seeds may occasionally grow into trees that bear nectarines, also, nectarine seeds may grow into trees that bear either nectarines or peaches. Since it is not possible to know which fruit will grow on trees grown from nectarine seeds, nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to guarantee a crop. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?
Nectarines can be eaten out of hand just as you would a peach, they can be cut up and used in fruit salad, or however you want to serve them. According to one of the sources, they are delicious in ice cream and sorbet, as well as cakes and pies. If you purchase nectarines, look for fruit that is firm but not hard, with a bright deep coloring. Avoid fruit with wrinkled skin or spots that could show evidence of decay. Hard nectarines will ripen at room temperature, to speed the process, place them in a bag with an unripe banana.
To peel them, cut an X in the bottom end and dip the fruit in boiling water, just as you would a peach or a tomato. Their smooth skin is edible, but most folks would probably prefer to peel them. However, there were no recipes for jams and jellies or really not much of anything else, except for cutting them into fruit salad, or eating out of hand. (In my opinion, you could probably make jam using the recipe you would for making peach jam).
I know the following desserts have absolutely nothing to do with nectarines, but since I don’t have any nectarine recipes in my files, I decided to give you something else instead and just hope you will enjoy them.
This recipe was in my files and since someone just asked about diabetic recipes and said she was craving sweets, hopefully it will help her a little bit.
Diabetics Delight
1 box yellow cake mix
12 oz. diet soda (Sprite Zero® or your choice)
1 can crushed pineapple (16-oz size) (divided use)
1 large tub Cool Whip®, sugar free
1 large box of sugar-free vanilla instant pudding
Empty cake mix into large bowl, add diet soda and mix well. Then add ½ can of crushed pineapple and stir well. Pour into 9×13 pan that you have lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake as directed on package. While the cake is baking, mix the Cool Whip®, the remaining crushed pineapple and the pudding together and stir well. Chill thoroughly. When the cake has finished baking and has cooled, spread the Cool Whip® mixture over the top. Cut into squares to serve. Makes 12 to 15 servings.
Recently, for a get-together here in Yoakum, I served my version of a cake that was served at our bunco in Devine several years go. It was a beautiful and colorful cake of three layers, each one with a different flavor of gelatin in the batter and was really delicious. The original recipe called for three boxes of white cake mix, but since I wanted a smaller cake, I used only two boxes, and rather than white cake mix, I used yellow because I felt the color would be more intense, and, since there are several diabetics in my group, I wanted to make it as sugar free as possible so they could enjoy it also.
The final addition to the story is that when we went to the venue where we have our meeting, the next time, the clerk asked me who had made the dessert a couple of weeks before, since I had shared with the staff. After admitting I had made the dessert, she told me it was absolutely wonderful, which of course made me feel pretty good! When I told her it was almost totally sugar free, she didn’t want to believe me at all and kept telling me “He is not going to believe this at all”, meaning the owner of the venue. So, here is the recipe for y’all to try. It is a little labor intensive, but the end result is worth it. I sort of used a Hawaii theme for my group, having a lei at each place when they came in…it was fun and different.
Joyce’s Fruity Jell-o® Cake
(Read all instructions before beginning to make cakes)
2 boxes Pillsbury®, sugar free yellow cake mix (16-oz boxes)*
Ingredients as required for making both cakes
1 small box, sugar free lime flavored gelatin
1 small box, sugar free lemon flavored gelatin
1 small box, sugar free orange flavored gelatin
food coloring (if desired)
flavoring (if desired)
1 carton (8-oz) sugar free whipped topping, thawed
1 small box, sugar free instant vanilla pudding
¾ cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
If you have three 9×13 pans, prepare them by greasing and flouring each one, or line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease or spray the paper. If not, you will have to bake each layer separately. (Leave the unused dough in the bowls in the fridge as the previous one bakes).
Prepare cakes according to package directions, one at a time. Mix dough together and divide into three equal portions, placing two in medium sized bowls and the last one back in your mixing bowl. Add a box of gelatin to each portion and stir well to mix it in. If you want a more intense yellow or green, add a little food coloring, also, if you have orange and lemon extract, it is fine to stir it in also. Pour one batch of batter into the prepared pan and bake according to directions on the box. Since it is a smaller portion of dough, it will bake in about 20 to 25 minutes, rather than the 30 to 35 listed on the box. Remove cake from pan and allow each layer to cool completely. *You can use regular cake mix, and with the ‘newer’ smaller size of 15-ounce mixes, you may have to use 3 boxes, because, no matter what “they” say you don’t get exactly the same size cake with less ounces of mix than you did before. It still makes a large cake but with fewer ounces, the cakes will be thinner.
Also, this can be made using regular cake mix instead of sugar free, as I stated, with several diabetics in the group, I was trying to make something tasty, but as sugar free as possible.
Mix together the whipped topping and the vanilla pudding, and stir in the coconut.
Use a cookie sheet (covered with foil if desired), and place one cooled cake layer on it, top with 1/3 of the frosting mix, add another cake layer, top with 1/3 of the frosting, add the third layer and top with the remaining frosting. It does not matter in which order you layer the cakes. Trim off the edges so you can see the beautiful layers and it is ready to serve. Store in the fridge. It will keep for several days in the fridge and the addition of the pudding to the whipped topping seems to stabilize it and keep it from dissolving or whatever seems to happen some times.