In the depths of winter, any changes in the fruit world are happening far from our shores, but change there is! Think citrus in the Mediterranean or grapes and stone fruit in South Africa, as the harvest moves on to mid/late season varieties, some with wonderful depth of flavour. There is always something changing, and we get the benefit of the best in our stores, if you know where to look.
FOR MY FRUITBOWL, I WOULD BUY:
- Grapes: Sable, Adora Seedless and Cotton Candy from South Africa
- Mandarins: Nadorcott or Tangold from Spain and Morocco; Israeli Orri;
- Oranges: Tarocco blood oranges from Italy, particularly Ippolito;
- Figs: Baby Ronde de Bordeaux from South Africa;
- Grapefruit: Florida Pink Ruby Red.
Grapes: There are many sweet and satisfying grapes from South Africa and Namibia, in fact we are spoilt for choice with a number of new varieties along with the old stalwarts. However, my favourite for flavour are: Sable (most stores) and Cotton Candy (M&S, Sainsbury, Waitrose). I also enjoyed a large berried Adora Seedless, black grape (in Waitrose), for its sheer boldness!
Oranges: It’s time for Sicilian blood oranges, Moro and Tarocco (most stores)! These have sublime texture and taste, particularly Tarocco, and are among the best oranges all year round. Lookout for Ippoloto in Waitrose, which have the most intense anthocyanin flavonoids of all Tarocco blood oranges, resulting in wonderful pigmentation.
Mandarins: The best for full of flavour and a good balanced sweetness are Nadorcott, Tangold or Orri from Morocco, Spain and Israel.
Lychee: Still top of the tree for flavour, but coming to an end soon. Mainly from South Africa: good value is still to be found in Tesco (at £5.30/kg on last sighting).
Figs: My favourite (somewhat expensive) treat of the week are the delicious baby figs, Ronde de Bordeaux from South Africa (Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys).
Satsumas: The Queen variety is the result of a natural mutation on a branch of a satsuma tree. It matures late, looks quite different, but tastes wonderful (most stores).
Grapefruit: Sweet, juicy Florida Pink Ruby Red is my clear choice of best grapefruit (Israel is the other good source at present).
Plums: We are mid-South African season for plums, and they are good value and plentiful. Standard varieties such as Sapphire, Sunkiss, Souvenir and Fortune should be fine, if left to soften properly in the fruit bowl. However, for better flavour, look for Ruby Sun, Ruby Red and Flavorking.
Peaches & Nectarines: Peaches and nectarines from South Africa are plentiful, now supplemented by fruit from Chile. Varieties are mostly of mid-season harvest, so should deliver good sweetness and flavour.
Mangoes: Practically all mangoes on sale are from Peru with a choice of one variety, Kent. It is not the most flavoursome, but the fruit should ripen reliably and have good sweetness.
©Good Fruit Guide 2017. 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.