Have you tasted a nectarine?

This week, I am having a little bit R&R. There was a shower on Saturday in Justin, TX, which is where one of my grandsons and his family live. The baby shower was for my youngest grandson and his wife whose baby is due this month. So, instead of coming to Devine for bunco, which was on the 1st rather than the previous week, I left my home Thursday morning and headed out. My trip took me to the Devine/Moore area first, then on to Castroville and Hondo for visiting and eating lunch. Friday afternoon we were on the road headed to Austin to spend the night with my granddaughter and then on Saturday we headed out to Justin, which is in the Ft. Worth area. More about my trip and my fun next week!
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? Since I had been noticing them in the store and purchased them a couple of times, I decided to find out what they really were. Someone had told me they were a peach/plum combination 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. You can tell peaches and nectarines are similar because peaches are of the genus Prunus persica and nectarines are P. persica. They 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 over 95% 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, cooked, dried 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. There are about ten varieties that are widely grown for market. 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. 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 all of 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 9×12 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 ago. 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. Pillsbury makes a really great sugar-free cake mix. So far, I have only seen it in two flavors, yellow, and Devil’s food. They also now make their canned frosting in a sugar free version.
The final addition to the story is that this week, when we went to the venue where we have our meeting, 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.
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. 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.
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 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 disappearing.