Week 32, 2016
The week is notable for many price promotions for melons, peaches and nectarines, grapes and various berries, all, coincidentally, in peak season and at their best: a feast of fruit to be enjoyed while it lasts!
Gold Medal Mango Retailer: This weekâ€™s winner is Tesco for a great range of mangoes (seen in their Hatfield store): Shelley, Omer and Noa from Israel; Chaunsa from Pakistan; Keitt from Dominican Republic and Organic Kent from Senegal. How’s that for choice? Best for flavour: Shelly and Chaunsa.
FOR MY FRUITBOWL, I WOULD BUY:
- Peaches and nectarines
- Mangoes: Maya and Shelley from Israel; Chaunsa from Pakistan
- Lychee from Israel: variety Mauritius
- Mandarins: Tangold, Nova and Nadorcott from South Africa and Peru
Peaches & Nectarines: Peaches and nectarines are in full flow from Spain and Italy, and being sold at very good values. Sweetness and taste should be assured, but make sure they have softened nicely to get the best taste and juiciness!
Cherries: English and Scottish cherries are abundant, but in the latter stages of the season. There is some wonderfully tasty fruit to be found in most stores, so get them while you can.
Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, currants and gooseberries are in their prime: mostly from UK and all at good values.
Mangoes: The sweet, silky Israeli Maya is still in Sainsburys and Waitrose, while Shelley, Omer and Noa are available in Tesco. The best are Maya and Shelley: fine, silky, sweet mangoes, but others from Israel are worth a try. Independent stores and Tesco are still selling the flavour-packed Pakistani Chaunsa, which is probably the most tasty variety, but coming to the end of availability.
Lychee: Israeli lychee are in most stores at decent prices and guaranteed to excite the taste buds.
Greengages: This is one of my favourite fruit. At its best, when softening and a slightly yellow-green colour, it is honey-sweet and flavoursome: just a delight for its short season. Spanish greengages are appearing in many stores.
Mandarins: Tangold, a delicious clementine variety, has joined Nadorcott and Nova in the excellent choices at this time of year. All are currently from South Africa and Peru, and each offers something slightly different: sweet and soft, sweet and tangy, and sweet and firm, consecutively!
Peruvian Minneola are in Tesco: juicy!
Melons: All melons are from Spain and Italy and should be delicious, having absorbed the hot Mediterranean summer sun as they grow.
Grapes: Spanish and Italian grapes are now abundant and there are some interesting varieties from Brazil in Waitrose (especially Vitoria). With the main season also comes a number of interesting newer varieties: Sable, Tutti Fruiti Mango (aka K2), Cotton Candy and Strawberry â€“ all well worth trying for flavour, if you see them.
Blueberries: Blueberries are still abundant, cheap and great quality, as production has moved north from Spain â€“ now predominantly from central and northern Europe.
Oranges: Sweet South African Navel and Navel Late oranges are the predominant type in most stores. However, Valencia Lates will also be sold and these will be slightly more tangy. Retailers are poor at separating these out on shelves, so look at the variety name on the label.
Pears: Just fresh on shelves in some stores (e.g. Asda and Lidl) are new season pears such as Morettini from Portugal. Confusingly, on the same shelf will be Conference from Holland, harvested in September 2015, and pears such as Packhams, Taylors Gold and Forelle from South Africa and New Zealand, harvested in March 2016.
I would buy Morettini for a fragrant, mild and fresh experience, crisp and sweet Forelle, and soft, juicy Taylors Gold.
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).