A settled period of fruit supply beckons, as settled as any time of the year, though there is always some change afoot, something to anticipate! In the next 2 to 3 weeks, look forward to new Mediterranean oranges, more Brazilian grapes, southern hemisphere plums and European Pink Lady apples. However, it is the here and now that is more important: where is the best flavour to be found? Read on …………
FOR OUR FRUITBOWL, WE WOULD BUY:
- Apples: Rubens, Smitten and Zari;
- Pears: Delicious Abaté Fétèl, Concorde and Comice;
- Mandarins: Fresh Spanish Clemenrubi and Oronules;
- Grapes: Sable and Vitoria from Brazil;
- Blueberries: lovely southern hemisphere quality;
- Persimmon: Rojo Brilliante or Sharonfruit from Spain;
- Cherimoya: Fino de Jerte from Spain.
Apples: All apples are now from European growers with the exception of Pink Lady and a few stocks of New Zealand Jazz. Worth seeking out for flavour and texture are new varieties such as Rubens (in Tesco); Smitten (in Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose) and Zari (in Sainsbury’s) – all quite different from the standard ranges in stores.
Pears: The choice of pears across retailers is magnificent at the moment, with over 14 different varieties on sale. Big stores of M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose have, as you would expect, the best range (Waitrose spotted with 8 varieties recently), so the pick of European pears, Abaté Fétèl, Comice, Concorde and Rocha, should be within reach (all except Comice can be eaten when hard or soft): all are a delight!
Mandarins: Spanish clementines, particularly Clemenrubi and Oronules, are now widely available and getting to their best. Southern hemisphere Nadorcott and Orri are still on shelves, but are largely losing their acid balance.
Satsumas: The main season Owari satsumas, plump, juicy, and refreshing, are practically in all stores: lovely with their sweet tanginess. The slightly sharper Turkish Okitsu is also on sale in some stores (seen in Waitrose).
Grapes: Greater volumes of Brazilian grapes are arriving, including some ‘sweet n’ crisp’ varieties such as Sweet Globe, Sugraone and Arra15, but Greek, Italian and Spanish fruit are still the main choice, with one or two varieties from USA in Morrisons. However, of most interest to the taste buds are Sable and Vitoria black grapes from Brazil: the former is in many stores and the latter, with knock-your-socks-off flavour, seen in Aldi and Waitrose.
Blueberries: All blueberries are now from South Africa, Peru and Argentina. Quality is excellent, and there are some interesting new Driscoll and Oz varieties which are worth trying (seen in M&S, Morrisons and Tesco).
Persimmons: The mainstream Rojo Brilliante persimmon, and the flatter Sharonfruit (seen in Asda and Sainsbury’s), are now widely available. These are deliciously sweet and tasty fruit which can be left to soften or be eaten when still firm.
Cherimoya: Still only in Asda or local ethnic groceries, it’s the great ‘missed opportunity’ of flavoursome fruit in this country. If you are lucky enough to see them, they are worth a try!
Mangoes: The majority of mangoes on sale are Keitt and Palmer from Brazil. These are decent mangoes, but a better bet for flavour is Osteen from Spain, if you can find them (last seen in Waitrose).
Figs: Turkish Black Bursa figs are still in all stores, but try buying them loose, so you can gently select those with the perfect velvety tenderness. Many of the pre-packed Bursa look a little immature, so seek-out a good, uniform, dark colouration. Israeli and Peruvian figs are starting to appear, which may have more consistency.
Kiwi: Most stores are now selling the new season green Hayward kiwifruit from Italy and Greece, as New Zealand and Chilean supplies dwindle. Italian Sungold and Soreli, the yellow kiwifruit, are also becoming widely available – tasty!
Avocado: Excellent quality Hass from Chile is the main avocado on sale, but green-skin Fuerte and Bacon are also on sale from Spain in some stores: a nice alternative.
Peaches and Nectarines: The new peach and nectarine season is gathering pace from Zimbabwe and northern South Africa. Varieties are the early types and will be light, sweet and very slightly tangy.
Plums: There is essentially a choice on one plum at the moment, Angelino. Don’t expect a succulent experience, though they will be sweet.
Oranges: All oranges on sale continue to be Valencia Late, or its derivatives Midknight and Delta from South Africa. These are tasty oranges which are juicy, but never as fine as a good Navel. Watch out for the first Spanish oranges!
Grapefruit: Supply of grapefruit has mainly switched to Israel or Spain. The first fruit may be a little tangy, but Israeli fruit is often sweeter.
3rd November, 2017
©Good Fruit Guide 2017. Information and data published on www.goodfruitguide.co.uk must not be reproduced or copied without permission of the editor. Recommendations on fruit varieties and types with the very best taste are personal to the editor of Good Fruit Guide, and do not attempt to be exhaustive or supported by verifiable consumer research. The highlighting of fruit with the very best taste in the opinion of the editor is not intended as a judgement on the taste of varieties and types of fruit not mentioned.