Week 49, 2015
FIVE FRESH FRUIT with FABULOUS FLAVOUR:
- Mandarins â€“ Clemenvilla from Spain
- Grapefruit â€“ Sweetie from Israel; Florida Pink from USA
- Apples â€“ English apples
- Pears â€“ Comice, Concorde and AbatÃ© FÃ©tel
- Lychee â€“ from South Africa and Madagascar
Mandarins: Often called a Tangerine by retailers, the Clemenvilla is starting to hit shelves from Spain (seen in Asda and Waitrose, so far). This is a beautiful looking mandarin with lovely, dense flesh and deep flavour â€“ slightly difficult to peel, but well worth the effort.
The standard Clementine will be Clemenules from Spain and Morocco for the rest of the year: reliably sweet and succulent.
The main Satsuma will be Owari from Turkey, though Spanish examples will still be available as well.
Grapefruit: Delicious, succulent Florida Pink (in M&S, Waitrose and Tesco) and sweet Sweetie from Israel (seen in M&S) are the most interesting grapefruit for those that donâ€™t like the bitterness. Florida Pink is low in bitterness due to its tropical origins, while bitterness is almost gone in the distinctly green-peeled Sweetie.
Apples: We have the most amazing choice of apple varieties in December, probably more than at any other time of year. In supermarkets, 30 were counted last week, of which 20 were grown in England, and there will be more in independent stores. The most in a single, large supermarket was 14 varieties (Asda and Waitrose).
Picking a favourite is a personal choice, but I will always go back to Rubens, Tentation, Empire, Jazz and Egremont Russett.
Pears: As with apples, we are also spoilt for choice of pears in December. There are at least 12 different varieties on sale, with up to 7 in a single store (M&S and Waitrose).
My favourite soft pear is Comice (or Sweet Sensation, a red-blushed version), and favourite crisp pears are Concorde and AbatÃ© FÃ©tel.
Lychee: Tops for flavour – lychee from South Africa and Madagascar: excellent!
Grapes: There is a large choice of black, red and green varieties, but be aware that grapes are currently in four camps: stored grapes from Europe and Israel, stored grapes from USA (in Asda, Morrisons and Tesco), newâ€™ish season grapes from Brazil and Peru and the first arrivals from South Africa and Namibia.
Arra15, Cotton Candy, Sweet Celebration, Jackâ€™s Salute, Sweet Mayabelle and Krissy are all the next generation varieties gradually coming onto the market, some with interesting flavours and textures: look out for them.
Avocados: Spanish green-skinned, Fuerte and Bacon give a refreshing alternative to the tasty, nutty Hass, which are currently from Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic and Mexico, with the Israeli season also just starting.
Oranges: Spanish Navelina oranges are now in every store. If you see variants such as Fukumoto and M7 (Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose), these will have a greater depth of flavour.
Strawberries: The glasshouse-grown Elsanta from UK and Holland still predominates, but the crunchy Fortuna from Egypt and Morocco will become more prevalent in the run-up to Christmas.
Persimmons: The Spanish Rojo Brilliante, is the main variety: sweet and delicious, whether eaten soft or hard.
Plums: South African Flavorosa, African Delight and Suplum41 are arriving and will be far more succulent than the rather dense, crunchy Angelino from Spain and Italy.
Mangoes: The choice is limited to Brazilian fruit at present. Kent and Keitt are the main varieties and in the peak of their season, so should ripen well, though not famous for flavour (more so for sweetness).
Cherimoya: Looking for flavour with a difference? Try Cherimoya from Spain (in independent ethnic grocers or Asda).
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.