I watched from the stairwell window as a black squirrel pulled a nectarine free from the tree with its teeth, leaped down onto the fence, and sat on the fence post flicking his tail and enjoying his treat. That’s how I knew it was time to bring in this year’s nectarine crop. Two weeks ago I had picked some of the larger fruit on the sunny side of the tree and bagged them with a large apple to encourage ripening. They don’t taste quite as good as the few fruit from the tiny ‘Double Delight’ tree in the front garden, but whatever these yellow nectarines are, they are still pretty tasty with excellent texture. I also love the “free stone” quality they have, coming cleanly away from the pit while you are eaten or preparing them.
When I took this picture, I had already pulled out the best and largest fruit for fresh eating. These two baskets are for nectarine jam, pies, nectar, or cobblers. Got a favorite nectarine recipe I should try? Leave it for me in the comments!
I don’t know the variety of this tree. It’s almost ten years old now and it hadn’t been pruned well until two years ago when a large branch broke from the weight of fruit. Now it gets groomed carefully every winter with the other trees around the garden. This winter it was “cut back hard” for the second year in a row and it’s fruiting well now and looking in much better shape. The ‘Double Delight’ set it’s fruit earlier than this one, which I hope will extend nectarine season for us next year and beyond. Even if this tree didn’t make delicious fruit, it would still make a great ornamental. This is what it looks like in the spring: