With slightly firmer flesh than their peach cousins, nectarines peak in flavor and availability during July and August. Their glossy yellow and red skins should look smooth and unblemished, with no green. When ripe, nectarines emit a lovely fragrance and give a bit when pressed; if underripe, place on your counter for a few days.
To peel fully ripe nectarines, lightly score an X at the stem end. Submerge in boiling water for 30–45 seconds; immediately place in or under very cold water. Skins should peel off easily.
Breakfast. Perfect with cold cereal and berries, of course, but also try sliced nectarines over pancakes, French toast, or waffles, or combined with cottage cheese and a bit of honey.
Grains. Toss small nectarine chunks with cooked quinoa or couscous, raisins, slivered red onion, toasted sliced almonds, and a yogurt-lemon dressing with a dash of cardamom. Serve on baby spinach leaves.
Dessert. Sauté sliced nectarines in a little butter or coconut oil and a dash of nutmeg over medium-high heat until barely browned and tender. Serve over vanilla ice cream.