After the strange warmth and luminous light brought by Ophelia, a real misty autumnal ambience has descended on the country. Appropriately, the choice of fruit is in sympathy with the mood: the comforting flavours and sweetness of newly picked apples and pears, clementines and satsumas, persimmons and custard apples.
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;
- Mangoes: Spanish Osteen;
- Persimmon: Rojo Brilliante or Sharonfruit from Spain;
- Cherimoya: Fino de Jerte from Spain.
Apples: There are some lovely ‘new kids on the block’ among the freshly picked apple varieties, and retailers are using them to develop a point of difference. They are worth seeking out for great textures and flavours: Delbard Estivale in M&S and Waitrose; Rubens in Tesco; Smitten in Morrisons and Waitrose; Zari in Sainsbury’s – all quite different.
Practically all apples are now from European growers with the exception of Pink Lady and Jazz, both of which are late-harvest varieties with southern hemisphere stocks still predominant.
Pears: The pick of the European pears are Abaté Fétèl, Comice, Concorde and Rocha. All except Comice can be eaten when hard or soft, and all are a delight!
Mandarins: The first Spanish clementines, Clemenrubi and Oronules, are becoming widely available. These have a lighter sweetness and flavour, and a slight tang compared to southern hemisphere Nadorcott and Orri, which are largely losing their acid balance.
Satsumas: Okitsu Spanish satsumas, and Mihowase from Turkey, are plump, sweet, juicy and refreshing with their acidic tanginess.
Grapes: While the ‘sweet n’ crisp’ varieties continue to be reasonable from Greece, Italy and Spain, there are some lovely, flavoursome black grapes from Brazil to excite the taste-buds. The European season will cling-on until end of November, but Brazil offers an alternative until the Namibian and South African season gets underway: look out for Vitoria (Morrisons and Waitrose) and Sable, in particular.
Mangoes: The majority of mangoes on sale are Keitt from a variety of sources. It’s a decent mango, but for flavour as well as sweetness, look out for Osteen from Spain (seen in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose) and Brazilian Palmer.
Persimmons: The mainstream Rojo Brilliante persimmon, and the flatter Sharonfruit (seen in Asda), are now widely available. These are deliciously sweet and tasty fruit which can be left to soften or be eaten when still firm.
Cherimoya: The great ‘missed opportunity’ of flavoursome fruit in this country, cherimoya, if you are lucky, can be found in Asda or local green grocers or ethnic groceries: it’s worth a try!
Figs: Delicious Turkish Black Bursa figs are still in all stores and at good prices. As the season continues, it is increasingly important to take care when buying to get good eating quality. Buying them loose is best, so you can gently select those with the perfect velvety tenderness. Otherwise, look for a good, uniform, dark colouration to avoid immaturity.
Oranges: All oranges on sale are from South Africa. There is only a choice of the Valencia Late, or its derivatives Midknight and Delta: tasty oranges; juicy, but never as fine as a good Navel.
Kiwi: While most stores are still selling the green kiwifruit, Hayward, from New Zealand or Chile, there are some supplies from the new Italian season popping up here and there. So far, two new early varieties, Greenlight and Sugar Top, have been spotted in Tesco and Waitrose, respectively. Expect them to be quite different due to the freshness of the Italian harvest.
Blueberries: All blueberries are now from South Africa, Peru and Argentina. It is still quite early in the season, so quality should be excellent.
Peaches and Nectarines: The new peach and nectarine season has started from Zimbabwe and northern South Africa. Peach varieties such as Spring Princess are very early and will be light and tangy, in complete contrast to the firm, dense varieties of the end of the Spanish season.
Avocado: Hass from Chile is the main avocado on sale, but look out for the green-skin Fuerte, which signals the start of the Spanish season.
Grapefruit: There is a transition from south to north in the supply of grapefruit at the moment, with most red varieties now coming from Israel or Mexico. Israel is a good source of grapefruit, but the first fruit may be a little tangy compared to the last of the South African Star Ruby.
Plums: This is not the best time to buy plums as late season types such as Angelino, though sweet, are not particularly succulent.
19th October, 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.