It probably hasn't occurred to most people that golden, ruby-blushed nectarines can be pickled, yet the fruit stays firm and plump when immersed in a spicy syrup. After a day or so in the refrigerator to blend flavors, the nectarine halves make an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats.
Take advantage of abundant supplies of nectarines now coming to market to prepare this relish, as well as for out-of-hand eating. Choose fruit with a creamy yellow background without any green at the stem end. (The crimson blush is an indication of variety, not maturity.)
A sure sign of ripeness is when nectarines give slightly to gentle palm pressure. If not quite ripe when purchased, store in a loosely closed paper bag or ripening bowl at room temperature for a few days.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks