Week 28, 2016
An alarming headline in The Times caught my eye today: â€˜Why supermarkets are full of bad applesâ€™. The word â€˜badâ€™ was obviously chosen to pique the readerâ€™s interest, but is entirely misleading as no shop would knowingly sell a bad apple. However, the point about long-term storage of apples is a good one, especially when considering the Good Fruit Guideâ€™s favourite topic: taste of fruit! New technology allows apples, though not all varieties, to be stored for many months, and there is debate about the effects of long storage on nutrients. Current research seems inconclusive, but the affect on flavour is probably of greater immediate interest to consumers. In July, is a Pink Lady apple harvested in October in Europe and stored for 9 months, as tasty as a recently harvested Pink Lady from South Africa? Question!
FOR MY FRUITBOWL, I WOULD BUY:
- Cherries: Picota from Spain
- Spanish peaches and nectarines
- British berries
- Satsumas: Peruvian Owari
- Gambian, Israeli or Pakistani mangoes: Maya, Chaunsa or Sindhri
- Lychee from Mexico, variety Mauritius
- Avocados: Fuerte from South Africa
Cherries: A tricky season in Spain due to rain has affected volumes, but we finally have the stalkless Picota cherry on our shelves (in most stores): tasty and great value for everyone to enjoy.
Of other cherries, Spain still dominates as a source, but the English season is starting, which is always wonderful for fruit-lovers.
Peaches & Nectarines: The good mid-season varieties of peach and nectarine are in full flow from Spain and Italy, so sweetness and taste should be assured. Make sure they have softened nicely to get the best taste and juiciness!
British Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants and gooseberries are in their prime and practically all from UK growers.
Satsumas: Most stores are selling Owari satsumas from Peru, which are particularly sweet, juicy and easy to peel.
Mangoes: Pakistani Sindhri and Chaunsa are wonderful mangoes, full of flavour (Asian greengrocers, Tesco, Morrisonâ€™s): buy them by the box. The sweet and silky Maya is starting to appear from Israel as well as the Gambia (Morrisonâ€™s, Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose).
Lychee: Luxurious, Mexican lychee are in most stores: guaranteed to excite the taste buds.
Avocado: Hass from Peru, Zimbabwe and South Africa is the dominant variety available in all stores, but for something a little different, try the green-skinned Fuerte from South Africa (Waitrose, and good value in Tesco).
Grapes: A big transition is underway from Egypt as the main source of grapes to Spain and Morocco. Some of the late Egyptian white grapes, such as Sugraone, are wonderfully sweet, so still worth seeking-out, especially those with straw-coloured berries. With the Spanish season starting, there will be a wider choice of varieties available: one such is the interesting Strawberry red grape, now in Asda.
Blueberries: Blueberries are still abundant, cheap and great quality, as production has moved north from Spain â€“ now predominantly from central and northern Europe.
Kiwi: The New Zealand Zespri Kiwi season is now fully underway in stores, with both the green Hayward and yellow Sungold widely available. Chilean Hayward are also on sale, as is the odd batch of Italian fruit from last season.
Mandarins: The delicious Nova mandarin from South Africa is available in most stores: deliciously dense and sweet.
Oranges: Sweet South African Navel oranges are the predominant type on sale, but there are still Spanish Valencia Lates (and similar 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.
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.