Flavour is flowing: new varieties of strawberries and grapes, delicious late-season mandarins, melons and stone fruit at their peak, sublime mangoes and tropical exotica, all await your attention and delight. It’s difficult to know where to start….!
FOR OUR FRUITBOWL, WE WOULD BUY:
- Stone fruit: apricots, peaches, nectarines and greengages
- Melons: Spanish melons, particularly Charantais
- Berries: blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and gooseberry
- Mandarins: Nadorcott, Tangold and Orri from South Africa & Peru
- Mangoes: Israeli Aya
- Grapes: flavoursome Mango grapes from Spain, among others
- Mangosteen: exotic flavour from Thailand
Peaches and Nectarines: Peaches and nectarines are plentiful from Spain, also from France and Italy. The fruit should be sweet, flavoursome and at its best, but the larger fruit will be more consistent: the taste of summer!
Flat peaches and nectarines are widely available, though the peaches are much better value: sweet and clean-eating, and the ideal snacking fruit.
Cherries: British cherries are coming to an end: some are even a little over-ripe, but generally they are still fabulous – check the punnets carefully when buying, and eat within a day or two (not difficult).
Picota cherries (Ambrunes) from the Jerte Valley, Spain, are still lovely and sweet, and are great value at £1/250g punnet (£4/kg in most stores, though not M&S or Waitrose; in Lidl for £3.56/kg).
Apricots: Spanish and French apricots are available everywhere: as ever, we are dependent on retailers getting the variety and quality right, but they should be excellent.
Melons: All melons are from Spain or Italy, and all types are generally very satisfying and on promotion (e.g. £1 for Honeydew). For a little more, taste the best with Charantais melons (usually in M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s & Tesco), the favourite of France and well worth the extra.
Tesco and M&S are also trying new varieties with extra flavour or sweetness: look out for Sweet Tangy Twist, Sweet Snowball and Sweet Sunkiss melons in Tesco, and Orange Candy Honeydew in M&S: you will be surprised!
Strawberries: All strawberries are home-grown, and quality continues to be excellent. For a guarantee of flavoursome strawberries, you can pay a bit more for newer varieties such Driscoll Jubilee, Majestic, Summer Blush and Magnum, among others. However, standard packs are increasing being filled with better varieties such as Driscoll Amesti, Sweet Eve and Murano, which will only encourage us to eat more (about time!).
Blackberries: Many stores offer the new sweet varieties, such as Driscoll Victoria, VC2, IN1 and Black Magic (Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose). Some may find these to lack the defining acids needed for real flavour, so may prefer the older and cheaper varieties such as Lochness, Loch Tay and Karaka Black, which have a bit of zing!
Raspberries: Raspberries are also all from UK growers. Some new varieties are Berry Gem, Berry Jewel and Driscoll Maravilla. Older varieties such as Glen Ample have the traditional flavoursome, but tangy aftertaste.
Blueberries: Blueberries are now principally from central Europe (Poland, Romania, etc), and should be fresh, firm and sweet (keep in the fridge and, as all berries, eat within a couple of days).
Mangoes: Chaunsa mango from Pakistan is still available from Asian groceries, but is becoming a rarity in supermarkets. However, despair not: the Israeli mango season is starting with Aya, the first of a number of wonderful varieties for the next few weeks (seen so far in Sainsbury’s and Tesco).
Plums: There are lots of plum varieties available from Spain (e.g. 6 different varieties spotted in one Tesco store!) and, being mid-season, most should be sweet and tasty if left at room temperature to ripen and soften. What to buy? Price is a guide, but at this time of year, even the ‘value’ plums will have something to offer.
Just as a pointer, British Opal plums are in M&S, signalling the start of our delicious and unique season.
Greengages: Delightful greengages, Reine Claude, have started from Portugal (spotted in Tesco). At their best, these are irresistible, honeyed deliciousness.
Mandarins: The excellent Nadorcott (or Tangold) mandarin from South Africa and Peru in is M&S and Tesco: flavoursome due to the later season, these will appear in all stores over the next weeks. Also look out for Orri and Nova, also great mandarins.
Grapes: Spanish grapes are gradually taking over from Egyptian and Moroccan as the seasons switch-over.
Spanish red (Ralli) and black varieties (Midnight Beauty) have been good for a while, but the green varieties (mainly Sugraone), though now improving, have been a bit tangy for the sweet-toothed among us. Egyptian and Moroccan fruit are still good and sweet.
For grapes with flavour, try Strawberry (seen in Asda and M&S) and Mango from Spain (in M&S): wonderful. Sable from Egypt is also worth trying as it’s normally one of the most flavoursome varieties.
Mangosteen: One of the favourite fruits of SE Asia, mangosteen from Thailand is becoming available. Don’t expect to see many in supermarkets (try ethnic grocery stores instead), though Asda tend to be the best for this type of delicious exotic fruit.
Apples: A lesson in great taste at low price appeared this week in Sainsbury’s and Morrisons: both selling rather under-coloured South African Fuji in ‘value’ packs. Despite appearances, this is actually a lovely fruit. Bigger ones are better, but it’s a very crisp and sweet example of the variety (now rarely seen here).
Pears: Abaté Fétèl, Forelle and Taylors Gold are still the pick of pear varieties on sale.
Persimmon / Sharon fruit: South African Triumph, a fruit with lovely flavour and huge sweetness, is widely available. Eat them when crisp or soft, peeled or unpeeled: they taste better than they look.
Avocado: The common Hass avocado is principally from Peru or South Africa at the moment: quality is wonderful.
21st July 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.