We are at a funny old time with grapes with the big switch from southern to northern hemisphere supplies still not complete. Hence, red grapes are predominantly stored Crimson and Scarlotta from Chile, with some new season Flame from Egypt; black grapes are current season Mexican Summer Royal, and green grapes are tail-end Thompson from India and new season Early Sweet and Prime from Egypt.
What does this mean? In terms of quality, black and green grapes on sale should be quite fresh, with green stems. The varieties are decent, sweet grapes with good texture, may be with a slight tang from early-season acids, but not necessarily bursting with aromatic flavour.
The eating quality of Chilean red grapes is still acceptable, but stems are looking tired, drying-out and the fruit will not store for long at home. You may wonder why these are still on sale: it’s because the next growing regions after Chile, principally India and Egypt, do not grow many seedless red grape varieties, nor black grapes, for that matter. This will change over the next few years, but until that happens, retailers will rely heavily on late-stored Chilean fruit. As mentioned above, there is some Egyptian Flame in stores (seen in Sainsbury’s recently). This is the first red variety to be harvested in any growing region and is worth trying for its freshness.
For grape varieties with real flavour as opposed to just sweetness, Vitoria and Cotton Candy are still available from Brazil’s ‘second’ season (in M&S, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose).
16th June 2017
©Good Fruit Guide 2017. Information and data published on www.goodfruitguide.co.uk must not be reproduced or copied without permission of the editor. 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. 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.