Week 30, 2016
You can tell that we are reaching high summer by the fruit being promoted in supermarkets: itâ€™s all about strawberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries and watermelons. These are in plentiful supply, generally very good quality, and should be tasty as well. The stone fruit, in particular should be at its best.
FOR MY FRUITBOWL, I WOULD BUY:
- Peaches and nectarines: Spain and Italy
- Cherries: English cherries and Picota from Spain
- British berries
- Israeli mangoes: Maya, Shelley
- Lychee from Israel: variety Mauritius
- Mandarins: Nadorcott from South Africa
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!
Cherries: The English cherry season is also in full flow, and there is some wonderfully tasty fruit to be found in most stores. The stalkless Picota is the best value cherry and well worth trying while the season continues from Spain. Otherwise good fruit is coming from Turkey (Napoleon cherries) and the late areas of Spain.
British Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants and gooseberries are in their prime: all from UK and all at good values.
Mangoes: Attention is turning to Israel as the main source of the most flavoursome mangoes. The sweet, silky Maya is still in Sainsburys and Waitrose, while both have Shelley as well (and in Tesco). The Tesco Finest mango is Aya, also from Israel, and also worth buying. Standard mangoes, such as Keitt, are from Gambia, Senegal, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
Lychee: Mangoes and lychee often come together, and current supplies are no exception: Israeli lychee are in most stores at decent prices and guaranteed to excite the taste buds.
Plums: Spanish and Israeli plums are entering peak season, which means a multitude of different varieties becoming available (16 at the last count!). Each supermarket chain seems to have their own favourite varieties, which makes it difficult to give advice. However, there is some great value out there, so buy and try, but remember to let them soften nicely to bring out the best flavour.
Hiromi Red and FlavorKing plums are probably the most widely sold varieties at the moment, and both have impressive flavour and sweetness.
Apricots: English apricots have been spotted in Tesco (variety Bar 1), otherwise they are from France and Spain. Eating quality should be excellent, but can be a bit hit and miss depending on maturity.
Mandarins: The South African Nadorcott season has started and the fruit has been seen in M&S, Sainsburys and Tesco, so far. It is one of the best clementine-types, though early samples may have a bit of a tang. Alternatively, the delicious Nova mandarin, also from South Africa, is available in most stores; and Peruvian Minneola are in Tesco: juicy!
Grapes: With the Spanish and Italian seasons underway, there will be increasing choice of varieties available: Ralli, Sugraone and Midnight Beauty are the predominant red/white/black varieties and should be starting to deliver consistent sweetness. One of the tastiest black seedless grapes, Sable, is available from Spain (most stores), while other interesting new varieties to try are Magenta, Timco, Allison and Timpson.
Blueberries: Blueberries are still abundant, cheap and great quality, as production has moved north from Spain â€“ now predominantly from central and northern Europe.
Avocado: Flavoursome, nutty Hass from Peru and South Africa dominate availability in all stores, but for something a little different, try the green-skinned Fuerte from South Africa (Waitrose; and Tesco – occasionally).
Kiwi: The New Zealand Zespri Kiwi predominates in stores, with both the green Hayward and yellow Sungold widely available. Chilean Hayward are also on sale, and the yellow Jintao has made an appearance in Tesco.
Oranges: Sweet South African Navel and Navel Late oranges are the predominant type in most stores.
Satsumas: Owari satsumas from Peru, which are particularly sweet, are starting to tail-off in availability, but are still available in some larger stores.
Pears: The best pears on sale are the sweet, crisp Forelle pear from South Africa and Chile, and Taylors Gold from New Zealand (M&S and Waitrose).
Apples: Pretty much all apples are now from the southern hemisphere. Particularly fine examples are Jazz from New Zealand; some of the Braeburn from South Africa and New Zealand; and the sweetest, crunchiest Golden Delicious available (from South Africa in M&S, Sainsburys and Waitrose).
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.