Week 42, October 2016
A huge choice of new season apples and pears; mangoes, persimmons and cherimoya from Spain, the new Mediterranean citrus season starting, and interesting melons from Brazil: what more could you want?
FOR MY FRUITBOWL, I WOULD BUY:
- Apples: Rubens, Zari and Egremont Russet from UK;
- Pears: AbatÃ© FÃ©tÃ¨l from Italy, Concorde and Comice;
- Mango: Osteen from Spain;
- Satsuma: Okitsu from Spain;
- Oranges: Tarocco blood oranges; Cambria Navels from South Africa;
- Plums: Metis Tonic from Spain;
- Melons: Sweet Snowball from Brazil.
Apples: French Braeburn are now established in most stores (from Slovenia in Waitrose) as New Zealand stocks dwindle. British Braeburn will be available soon, once harvest and early storage are complete. For me, though, the delicious Rubens is now on sale (in Tesco) to join my other favourites: Zari, Delbard Estivale and Egremont Russet.
Whichever is your favourite variety, it is a magnificent time of year for apples: I counted 30 varieties across retailers in my area, 18 of which were from British orchards: make the most of it!
Pears: To join AbatÃ© FÃ©tÃ¨l, the fragrant favourite of Italy (now firmly established in Asda, Lidl and Sainsburys), Concorde is becoming available (seen in M&S, Tesco and Waitrose). Look out for them, as this is a lovely variety: eat them crisp or soft. Also, donâ€™t forget Comice, the â€˜queen of pearsâ€™: best left to soften, and eaten with a napkin close at hand.
Mangoes: Osteen from Spain, is still quite widely available (Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose). So far, I havenâ€™t detected its normal fragrant flavour, but it is amazing sweet, and should ripen beautifully given our proximity to the mango groves. The best alternative is Palmer from Brazil (many stores), or Keitt from Israel, if you can find them.
Satsumas: All retailers are now selling Spanish Okitsu, one of the main satsuma varieties, and they should be good: lovely, sweet, plump and juicy (the smoother the skin, the better). Asda are stocking Okitsu from Croatia to provide an interesting alternative.
Oranges: Look out for the last Cambria Navels (seen in Asda and Sainsburys), and Tarocco blood oranges (in M&S and Waitrose) from Argentina and South Africa: both are worth the extra cost.
Valencia-type oranges are otherwise predominating on shelves (Valencia Late, Midknight and Delta Seedless) and are flavoursome, juicy and sweet, with reduced acids as the season progresses.
Plums: Iâ€™ve been interested to try various late-season alternatives to Angelino plums, such as Metis Oxy, Metis Tonic and September Yummy. They are all sweeter and less dense of texture, with Metis Tonic being particularly succulent for this time of the season.
Persimmons: The main Spanish persimmon, Rojo Brilliante, is now widely available, but it is still early season, so they may not be at the peak of their eating quality.
Cherimoya: With a similar timing to persimmons come Cherimoya from Spain, variety Fino de Jete: a very flavoursome fruit with soft succulent white flesh to scoop out with a spoon â€“ unusual (in Asda and independent stores).
Mandarins: Nadorcott, Tangold, Mor and Orri are still widely available and of good quality from Chile, Peru and South Africa. The new season Clementines from Spain are gradually taking over in most stores and are lighter and fresher with a new season zing: Clemenrubi, Marisol, Oronules.
Grapes: As European stocks diminish, many retailers will look to Brazil to plug the gap until the Namibian / South African season gets underway in early December. Brazilian grapes are now quite widely available, so you may notice a difference in eating experience.
Figs: Turkish Bursa figs are still available. The best have passed, though it may still be possible to select soft, tender fruit from loose displays.
Melons: A new Ivory Gaya melon from Brazil is on sale in Tesco Extra stores, called Sweet Snowball. Being largely a creamy white colour, it looks unusual and canâ€™t really be missed: it is definitely worth trying for its high level of sweetness and unusual flavour.
Peaches & Nectarines: Any peaches and nectarines from Spain and Italy will have a noticeable density to the flesh. However, the Zimbabwe season has started with early season varieties which will be entirely different: sweet, juicy, light and a little tangy.
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.