Week 27, 2016
Summer fruit are approaching their peak in stores, but also in back-gardens as harvest begins on raspberries and tayberries. The pigeons are greedily eying-up the fast colouring red currants, so time to get some netting out!
FOR MY FRUITBOWL, I WOULD BUY:
- Spanish peaches and nectarines
- Blueberries, particularly Kirra, Celeste, Arana, Blue, Magna
- Raspberries from UK
- Satsumas: Peruvian Okitsu
- Thai, Indian or Pakistani mangoes: Nam Dok Mae, Kesar, Chaunsa or Sindhri
- Lychee from Mexico, variety Mauritius
Peaches & Nectarines: The good mid-season varieties of peach and nectarine are in full flow from Spain, so sweetness and taste should be more assured. Flat peaches, Carioca and UFO, are reliably sweet, but standard peaches will beat them for flavour and succulence.
Satsumas: Most stores are selling Okitsu satsumas from Peru, which are particularly sweet, juicy and easy to peel.
Mangoes: We are still in mango heaven in July! Pakistani Sindhri and Chaunsa and Indian Kesar are wonderful, full of flavour (Asian greengrocers, Tesco, Morissons); Gambian Maya, sweet and silky (Sainsbury and Waitrose); Nam Dok Mae from Thailand, elegant and perfumed (M&S, Asda): what more could you want?
Lychee: Luxurious, Mexican lychee are in most bigger stores: guaranteed to excite the taste buds.
Blueberries: Blueberries are abundant and cheap, mostly from Spain, but with the first British fruit coming through. With abundance comes some over-supply and thence poor quality, so watch out for signs of shrivel and softness. Otherwise the fruit is excellent, particularly some of the better varieties: Celeste, Kirra, Arana, Magna.
Raspberries: In common with other berries, raspberries are plentiful, from the traditional tangy Glen Ample, Incentive and Karaka Black to the new, sweet varieties such as Tulameen and Berry Gem: full of flavour, and mostly from UK.
Cherries: Although it has been a tricky season in Spain due to rain, volumes are plentiful in supermarkets and prices are down. Turkey and Greece have had better weather, so expect to see more cherries from SE Europe.
Apricots: Hit and miss! The art of Apricotics must be pursued with enthusiasm, as there are some wonderful apricots out there, but plenty to disappoint as well.
Kiwi: The New Zealand Zespri Kiwi season is now fully underway in stores, with both the green Hayward and yellow Sungold widely available: sweet!
Mandarins: The delicious Nova mandarin from South Africa is available in most stores: dense and sweet.
Oranges: Most stores are now selling South African Navel oranges, but there are Spanish and Moroccan Valencia Lates (similar are Maroc Late, Nucellar, Midknight and Delta) mixed in with them. They are quite different in eating quality: look at the labels to find the type that you want!
Pears: The sweet, crisp Forelle pear from South Africa is still available in most stores: delicious.
Apples: Pretty much all apples are now from the southern hemisphere. Particularly fine examples are Jazz from New Zealand and some of the Braeburn from South Africa.