Week 11 – March 2020
FOR MY FRUIT BOWL, I HAVE BOUGHT:
- Mandarins: Orri from Spain & Israel;
- Oranges: Tarocco from Italy;
- Apples: British Smitten, Spanish Envy and US Empire;
- Grapes: Sweet Celebration, plus black grapes from South Africa;
- Grapefruit: Florida Pink from USA
- Mango: Kent from Peru – the best time for this variety.
Mandarins: There is great choice at the moment from Spain, Morocco and Israel: the excellent Nadorcott and Tangold are the main varieties, but Orri (often sold as a Tangerine) is a cut above.
Oranges: It is a great time for oranges as well, primarily from Spain with delicious Lane Late navels and juicy Salustianas. However, Sicilian Tarocco is at its sublime, sweet, succulent best – not matched throughout the year.
Apples: All apples are still from the northern hemisphere and quality remains good. Stand-out varieties are British Smitten (quite widely available), Spanish Envy (M&S and Waitrose) and US Empire (Tesco).
Grapes: Although grapes are starting to appear from Chile and India, it is South Africa that still dominates as a source. There are some lovely newer varieties with good availability, such as the red grape, Sweet Celebration and black grapes Sable, Sweet Joy and Melody.
Grapefruit: Many retailers sell the red grapefruit, Star Ruby, currently from Israel, Spain and Turkey, but Florida Pink from USA will have the widest appeal with its juice, sweetness and nicely balanced bitterness.
Mango: I rarely rate the Kent mango more than 3 stars, as it is often fairly bland and flavourless, but the current supplies from late-season Peru are very good – it’s the best time for this variety.
NEW THIS WEEK:
- Blueberries from Spain – along with Moroccan, fresher than end-of-season Chilean blueberries;
- Grapes from Chile and India – adding to supplies from South Africa;
- Envy apples from Spain – very sweet;
- Pears from South Africa – fresh season starting with QTee and Green Williams;
OTHER FRUIT ON SALE – ON THE APP:
UPDATE by FRUIT TYPE:
Blueberry Update: The Chilean season is winding down although there are still quite a number of later varieties on sale in many of the larger retailers. The Moroccan season is now well established with Spain following suite, so I would recommend concentrating on this much fresher fruit, if only to avoid the prospect of soft berries among some of the Chilean samples. Morocco and Spain also have some tasty new varieties such as Mayra, Cristina Blue, Royal Sweet and Eureka.
Cherry Update: All cherries are from Chile and Argentina: sea-freighted and stored for several weeks in modified atmospheres. Quality should be acceptable at the prices being charged, but there is no guarantee. They will not be nearly as succulent as freshly-harvested fruit and there are some dreadful samples on sale in some stores: trust your retailer? Varieties on sale: Bing, Kordia, Lapins, Regina.
Melon Update: It will not be long before we see the first early Spanish melons, but in the meantime, Galia and Canteloupe are mostly from Costa Rica; Honeydew and Watermelon from Costa Rica and Brazil, and Piel de Sapo and Matice (Sweet Snowball in Tesco) continue from Brazil. Eating quality does not change much with country of origin. For guaranteed sweetness, Piel de Sapo and Matice are the best bet.
Peach & Nectarine Update: The southern hemisphere season for peaches and nectarines is entering its late stages, so the varieties will start to be quite dense and a little less juicy. Having said that, the eating quality at the moment is good, and particularly so for white-fleshed nectarines.
Plum Update: FlavorKing has been the stand-out plum for flavour over the past few weeks and can still be found in Waitrose and M&S it is ending, so eating quality is diminishing. Other plums from South Africa reflect the mid-to-late season, which is normally a good time to buy most varieties and get some decent, sweet fruit. Laetitia is a good stalwart of this time, but also look out for African Delight, among others.
Raspberry Update: Quality remains good from a variety of sources, mainly Morocco and Spain, but also including Portugal, Kenya and South Africa.
Strawberry Update: With volumes still dependent on Morocco, Spain and Egypt, I’m afraid that I just can’t get excited by strawberries at the moment, most of which struggle to offer any real sweetness let-alone flavour. I suppose the various Premium packs (Taste The Difference, The Best, etc) may do better, but I’m rarely impressed at this time of year.
©Good Fruit Guide 2019. 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.