Velvety sweet. Oh-so juicy. A peach with fuzz-free skin. Who doesn’t love a summer nectarine! A few tips:

Is it ripe? A ripe nectarine (or peach) will give a little when squeezed (gently!). Or give it a sniff to see if you can detect a sweet aroma at the stem end.

Can’t wait? To speed up ripening, stow nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, and other stone fruit in a closed paper bag on the countertop. Then refrigerate any ripe fruit you won’t be eating within a few days.

The pits. Got a choice between “freestone” and “clingstone”? Free is easier to eat out of your hand. Save clingstone for baking, since you’ll need to cut away the flesh that clings to the pit (or “stone”).

Smart snacking. At a mere 60 calories a pop—with a decent dose of nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium—a nectarine is a sweet deal.

Branch out. Nectarines can jazz up yogurt bowls, salads, cereal, oatmeal, and more. Bring home a bumper crop? Toss some into The Healthy Cook’s fruit crisp.

’Tis the season. While summer’s hot, grab some plums, peaches, or hybrids (like pluots, plumcots, or apriums) on your next trip to the market.

Leave no stone unturned.

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