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Choosing a nectarine is similar to choosing a peach. Look for brightly-colored, plump fruit. I look for a bright-red to reddish-purple color in the skin. It should feel slightly soft to the touch and have a smooth skin (no wrinkles). Make sure you don't mistake bruising for softness. Also, avoid any that are hard (a sign of being picked too early.) You can soften it a little at room temperature but it will not ripen any further. Nectarines will stay a few days longer if refrigerated.