Ingredient

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Nectarines resemble peaches, but they're sweeter and more nutritious. They're best if they're allowed to ripen on the tree. Unfortunately, tree-ripened nectarines bruise easily, so most growers scrimp on flavor and pick and market them while they're still slightly underripe. After buying nectarines, you're supposed to let them ripen for a couple of days at room temperature before eating them. This makes them softer and juicier, but not sweeter. Avoid buying nectarines that are too hard or that have green spots--a sign they were picked way too soon--or those that are bruised. The superior freestone varieties arrive in June and July; the cling varieties that come later aren't as good.

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Substitutes

peaches (not as sweet) OR apricots
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