Week 12, 2016
THIS EASTER WEEK:
Northern spring and Southern autumnal changes continue to show up in stores. This week there are Comice (South Africa) and AbatÃ© FÃ©tÃ¨l (South Africa & Chile) pears, Egyptian Florida Prince peaches, a greater proportion of blueberries from Morocco and Spain rather than Chile, and more English strawberries. Then, for those keen on mangoes, there is a big seasonal shift from Peru as the main source to Brazil and Puerto Rica (varieties Palmer and Keitt).
Itâ€™s also interesting to see Tesco introducing new packaging to replace their well-known Everyday Value brand. To me it is a rather dubious emulation of discounter brands that pretend to come from particular farms, all with unlikely names, all which mean nothing to most consumers: unbecoming!
FOUR FRUIT with FABULOUS FLAVOUR:
- Mandarins â€“ Orri and Golden Nugget
- Oranges â€“Tarocco from Sicily; Lane Late from Spain; Shamouti from Israel
- Mango â€“ Nam Dok Mae from Thailand
- Blueberries â€“ Moroccan and Spanish
Oranges: Shamouti from Israel (the original Jaffa orange, in Tesco) has added to the choice of lovely late season oranges. Others to target are Italian Tarocco blood oranges and Navel oranges, such as Lane Late and Navelate, mostly from Spain.
Valencia Lates are on sale from Spain and Egypt: be aware that these are quite different to Navels, with more tartness and chewiness.
Mandarins:Â The late season European mandarins continue to deliver good sweetness, though flavour is diminishing. Pick of the bunch are Golden Nugget (Asda), Murcott (occasionally in Morrisons and Tesco) and Orri.
Southern hemisphere Satsumas are still only limited in availability with some delicious, though pricy, samples in M&S from South Africa.
Mango: The delicious Thai mango, Nam Dok Mae (in Asda and M&S) is quite a treat at Â£2.50, while promising is Palmer from Brazil. This is new on shelves so Iâ€™ve yet to taste one, but normally it is a flavoursome variety.
Blueberries: Most blueberries for the past 4-5 months have come from Chile and Argentina, but these are tailing-off now. Freshly picked fruit from Morocco and Spain, available in most stores, now predominate.
Grapefruit: The Florida Pink, Ruby Red, is sweet, juicy, flavoursome, and available in most stores at decent prices. Morrisons have 4 for Â£1.47, which canâ€™t be bad!
Grapes: Although late in the season, South African Sable and Melody continue to be my favourite grapes on sale. Deliciously fragrant Muscat from Chile (in M&S and Sainsburys) is quite special, quite soft and worth trying. Otherwise there is a confusing range of varieties on sale as sources traverse South Africa, Chile and India, some good, some mediocre.
All green grapes are now from Chile or India.
Avocado: Israeli Fuerte is available in Waitrose: light, refreshing texture and flavour. The majority of Hass is now from Spain and Israel.
Plums:Â All stores are selling African Delight from South Africa, which is a late season variety with fairly dense flesh, but a high level of sweetness: worth a try. The late varieties never really soften, but you should feel some â€˜giveâ€™ to indicate ripeness.
Peaches & Nectarines: The northern hemisphere season has started with Egyptian Florida Prince peaches. These are the earliest commercial variety in the Mediterranean, but are normally pretty good: samples need to be assessed to find out!
I read that the first Spanish nectarines are being marketed in Germany. These will shortly arrive in UK, but the main supermarkets will only start to sell them once they achieve certain minimum levels of sweetness.
Pears: The southern hemisphere pears continue to arrive with South African Comice being the latest to replace old season European fruit. AbatÃ© FÃ©tÃ¨l from South Africa and Chile are in M&S, Lidl and Asda.
Â©Good Fruit Guide 2016. 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. Â 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.