Food Preservation

How to Ripen Nectarines? How to Tell if Nectarine is Ripe?

In this article, you will know the answer to the query “How to Ripen Nectarines? How to Tell if Nectarine is Ripe?“.

Peaches, plums, and nectarines are my favorites. I prefer them because of their sweet, tangy taste and lack of fuzz.

Flowers of nectarines are single and white with a faint orange-yellow tint.

A nectarine’s skin can be yellow or orange in color, with darker freckles (lighter spots).

Pits are smaller than peaches, round or oval-shaped. They have a firmer interior flesh and a sweet flavor.

When the weather gets hot, nectarines are a delicious treat.

You can just imagine the cool, fresh juice running down your chin when you take your first bite.

However, I don’t like biting into unripe, hard, or tasteless nectarines.

Most of the nectarines I see at my local fruit stand and grocery store aren’t quite ripe yet.

Despite being hardy, they are still developing their delicious juices.

The purpose of this article is to show you how to tell if a nectarine is ripe and ready for consumption.

Additionally, I will show you how to ripen nectarines to get the sweetest and tastiest fruit possible.

How to Tell if Nectarine is Ripe?

If you want to know how to tell if a nectarine is ripe, you need to know what ripeness looks like.

One or more of these things may occur in ripe fruits and vegetables: color change, texture change, fragrance change, sugar content increase, and more.

Test the ripeness of nectarine by touching and smelling it next time you eat one or see one in the grocery store.

A ripe nectarine should have a few of these characteristics:

1. Touch

You should feel some softness in the nectarine. Soft nectarine is not yet ripe.

After peeling, the inner flesh of the nectarine will ripen more as it sits on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 days, or for up to 7 days if refrigerated.

If you gently press the skin with your fingers, a ripe nectarine will yield slightly.

2. Smell

The aroma of ripening nectarines is stronger than that of unripe nectarines.

Ripe nectarine emits a sweet scent; when you sniff it, it smells almost rotten but it’s not (like pineapple).

Additionally, you can smell the aroma of nectarines that are on the counter.

3. Color

A nectarine’s skin can be yellow to orange in color, with some light freckles (lighter spots).

If your nectarine is ripe, look for these signs: the skin becomes lighter yellow-orange with a hint of red.

In addition, the skin will begin to wrinkle and become softer, like that of an overripe peach.

4. Texture

You should be able to feel a bit of softness or even slight mushiness when pressing on the nectarine skin.

When your nectarine is ripe, it will have a bit of giving. Don’t use too much force, though.

You can tell if your nectarine is ripe by the way it feels when you lightly press it.

On the stem side of a ripened nectarine, there should also be some sticky juice.

5. Sugar Content Increasing

The sugar content of your nectarine will increase with ripeness. This will make the nectarine sweeter than it was originally.

Among the primary components of sour or tart fruit flavor is malic acid, which is found in nectarines.

As the nectarine ripens, its sugar content increases, and its malic acid content decreases, so it becomes sweeter and less sour.

How to Ripen Nectarines at Home?

When nectarines are too hard, you might be hesitant to buy them.

Nectarines can be made at home in several easy ways:

Place Nectarines on Counter to Ripen

Nectarines that are a bit hard or firm should be placed on the countertop at room temperature for 2-3 days.

You can speed up the ripening process by covering the fruit with a damp paper towel.

Alternatively, you can leave it at room temperature for up to 7 days if you put it in a plastic bag after peeling.

The fruit should become sweeter as it ripens and begin to emit the aroma of ripeness.

If you place your nectarines where they will receive some sun, you can speed up the process.

It is important not to let the sun too much as it can cause mushy spots.

Using a Paper Bag

Paper bags are also suitable for storing nectarines.

Similar to many other fruits, nectarines also produce ethylene gas when they mature.

Gases can be trapped in paper bags, preventing moisture from entering and speeding up the process.

The bag’s acceleration can be further accelerated by adding a banana or an apple to it.

Their natural gas emissions are high.

Nectarines should be stored in a bag for 24 hours.

Check for softness afterward.

If they aren’t ready by tomorrow, check again.

Wrap in a Napkin

Ripen your nectarines by wrapping them in cotton or linen napkins.

Place your fruit stems on the napkin and lay them flat on the surface.

So that they do not touch, they should be spaced apart.

You can place another napkin on top, keeping the sides tucked in to prevent air from escaping.

However, this method yields extra juicy nectarines despite being more time-consuming.

After a few days, you can determine whether the nectarines are soft, fresh, and enjoyable.

Do Nectarines Ripen After Picking?

You can still make nectarines ripen after picking, even though the maturation process will slow down.

This is a great way to determine what you should do with nectarines if they are not ready when you buy them.

You can ripen nectarines at home by following one of the tips mentioned above.

Choosing one of the first two methods will result in softer fruit.

Try the second and third suggestions if you want a nectarine that is juicier or with a more intense flavor.

Every 24 hours, you should check on the progress of your nectarine.

Here are some tips for choosing and using nectarine when you are ready to enjoy them.

How to Store Nectarines – The Right Way?

There are many methods for storing nectarines, depending on how you intend to use them or eat them.

You can store the fruit at room temperature in a cool, dry place if you plan to eat it right away, for example.

If you have too many during the summer season, you can also keep them in the refrigerator for a few days.

Nectarines that are ripe can be stored in the refrigerator.

For up to one week, they will remain fresh and juicy.

Unripe nectarines should not be placed in the refrigerator as this may cause them to become mushy when they ripen inside.

The best way to store nectarines is to place them in a plastic bag placed into a bowl of water.

Make sure to remove the bag before storing the fruit, in order to prevent condensation on the fruit.

You can keep them in the refrigerator for two days if you plan to cook with them or bake with them.

When you are not going to eat nectarines, it is good to keep them from getting too ripe so you can use them in other ways.


To conclude, nectarines can be ripened in several ways.

You can use a paper bag or fruit-ripening wrap, or even just put them under a towel for seven days after peeling and coring them.

Whenever you pick nectarine, check on it every 24 hours, and if you are trying to ripen it after buying it, do the same.

You can eat fresh nectarine or make some delicious recipes using them once you have tried all of the methods above.

If you want to read more about food preservation, read here: FOOD PRESERVATION.

Ayub Khan

Ayub Khan is an accomplished culinary author with a passion for cooking and 6 years of experience. His creative ideas and valuable tips inspire readers to explore new flavors and take their culinary skills to the next level.

Rehmat Dietitian

Rehmat is a certified food dietitian having experience of 10 years in reviewing and practicing on foods different aspects.

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