It will be 40oC in Badajoz next week, just right to give a wonderful boost of sunshine to peaches and nectarines in the area. In UK, we never quite get the same intoxicating Mediterranean mix of heat, sunshine and beautifully aromatic stone fruit, but the next best thing is imminent.
Summer peaches and nectarines come to us from many growing areas in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. The first fruit comes from furthest south and production gradually moves north as the summer progresses. However, within each growing area there is another seasonal influence as production starts with fast-growing, early varieties, often quite acidic, before moving on to mid and late season types. For consumers, it is a confusing process involving many different varieties and regions, often overlapping, so is almost impossible to understand clearly.
The answer to enjoyment of these fruit is to understand a little of what is going on and then trust our retailers to select the variety and region correctly. This is not always particularly successful, but there is truth in the maxim that you get what you pay for: the cheaper the offer, the less certain is the eating quality (whether punnet vs. Ripe n’ Ready, or Lidl vs. M&S).
However, here in mid-June, we are seeing (tasting) the tail-end of the tangy early fruit and the gradual transition to the sweeter and more alluring mid-season varieties. As this happens, the quality and sweetness of the cheaper peaches and nectarines in punnets will gradually improve, so we should all be able to enjoy them, whatever our budget.
A clear winner at the moment are flat peaches, of which there are many fewer varieties and more certainty of eating quality. Currently we have Carioca, Zumba and UFO on sale from Spain, all white-fleshed, sweet, easy to eat, cheap fruit: delicious and a perfect snack for children.
14th 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.