Week 52, 2015
FIVE FRESH FRUIT for FABULOUS FESTIVITIES:
- Mandarins â€“ Clemenules and Clemenvilla from Spain
- Oranges â€“ Navelinas from Spain, especially Fukumoto and M7
- Grapes â€“ Delicious from Peru & Brazil; fresh and new South African
- Lychee â€“ from South Africa and Madagascar
- Pears â€“ Comice, Concorde, AbatÃ© FÃ©tel and Rocha
Mandarins: Christmas is not the same without Clementines, and the shops are full of Clemenules from Spain and Morocco: sweet, succulent, easy to peel and great value.
But donâ€™t forget Clemenvilla from Spain (often sold as a Tangerine) – beautiful looking, with lovely, dense, sweet segments and deep flavour.
Oranges: Spanish Navelina oranges are in their prime and variants such as Fukumoto and M7 (Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose) have a deeper flavour. Use Salustianas for juicing and cooking.
Grapes: Some wonderful, flavoursome varieties are still available from Peru and Brazil. Look out for Sweet Celebration, Sweet Nectar, Sweet Enchantment and Sable to adorn the Christmas table: they will go in a flash. Otherwise, the new Namibian and South African season is going from strength to strength with Flame, Prime and Early Sweet.
Lychee: The best fruit for the Christmas table, from South Africa and Madagascar, lychee are delicious and coming down in price.
Pears: My favourite soft pear is Comice (or Sweet Sensation, a red-blushed version), and the best crisp pears (which will also soften to a fine texture) are Concorde, AbatÃ© FÃ©tÃ¨l and Portuguese Rocha.
Apples: A large bowl of red apples is always a favourite at Christmas. Most stores have Red Delicious or Empire, the latter being my favourite (in Tesco and Morrisons).
For flavour, I will always reach for a Braeburn, Rubens (Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco), Tentation (M&S), Jazz or Egremont Russett, as I pass the fruit bowl.
Persimmons: The Spanish Rojo Brilliante, is the main variety: sweet and delicious, whether eaten soft or hard. Israel Triumph are just coming on to the market.
Plums: South African Flavorosa, African Rose, Sapphire and several other varieties are in all stores. Let them properly soften and they will be far more succulent than Angelino from Spain and Italy.
Mangoes: The choice is mainly limited to Brazilian fruit at present, but the Peruvian season is just starting. Kent and Keitt are the main varieties and the Brazilian fruit should ripen well, though are not famous for flavour (more for sweetness). Palmer, which has better flavour, is available in some stores (Sainsburys, Tesco).
Cherimoya: Looking for flavour with a difference? Try Cherimoya from Spain (in independent ethnic grocers or Asda).
Berries: There is a decent choice of berries of all types available: strawberries from Egypt and Jordan are good quality for pavlovas and fruit salads (look out for Driscoll Bonaire for better flavour); raspberries are plentiful from Spain and South Africa, and blueberries are numerous from South America.
Â©Good Fruit Guide. 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.