Autumn Attractions: Dominating the taste buds this week are the autumnal fruits of the long summer growing season. It’s a very European scene with Spanish grapes, stone fruit, satsumas and persimmons; Israeli mangoes; Turkish figs and central European blueberries, but the new British apple and pear season demands attention, as do the rather unusual local kiwiberries: so much to savour!
FOR OUR FRUITBOWL, WE WOULD BUY:
- Figs: Delicious Black Bursa from Turkey;
- Apples: A wealth of fresh British fruit;
- Satsumas: Iwasaki from Spain;
- Grapes: Exciting new varieties;
- Kiwiberries: A tasty snacking fruit;
- Mangoes: Late Israeli varieties.
Figs: Black Bursa figs from Turkey are widely available and must be the most alluring fruit presently on sale. A beautifully plump, velvety Bursa fig is difficult to put down: if only they were all perfectly ripe!
To get the best eating quality, it’s best to buy them loose. You can then gently feel the velvety tenderness of perfect ripeness, taking care to choose those with good, even, dark colouration. Patches of green are important to notice as they indicate some immaturity, this being your only indicator when buying them prepacked.
Apples: While the main ‘year-round’ apples are still from the southern hemisphere, there are plenty of interesting homegrown varieties to experience. All supermarkets offer something from British orchards, including the first Cox’s Orange Pippin. In particular, look out for Worcester, Delbarde Estivale (in M&S and Waitrose) and Zari (in Asda and Sainsbury’s), but there are plenty of others to satisfy more traditional tastes.
Pears: While we wait for the high quality varieties, it is worth noting that virtually all Conference pears are now from the new seasons fresh harvest.
Satsumas: Iwasaki Spanish satsumas are gradually appearing on supermarket shelves (seen in Sainsbury’s and Tesco). These are delightful easy-peelers: plump, sweet and juicy, but not to everyone’s taste with their acidic tanginess.
Grapes: Pretty much all Greek, Spanish and Italian grapes continue to have good eating quality, but there are a good range of interesting ‘flavour’ varieties to try at the moment. Sable, Vitoria, Muscat Beauty and Cotton Candy are the best known of these types, but a number of stablemates of Cotton Candy are also on sale in various supermarkets, all of which are worth trying for interesting flavours, textures and sweetness. Look out for Candy Hearts, Candy Drops, Candy Dreams and Sweet Mayabelle.
Kiwiberries: These are a great snack-fruit and perfect for the school or work lunchbox. Grown in the UK, they are literally like mini kiwifruits, but with smooth skins, so can be eaten whole.
Mangoes: The later season Israeli mangoes, such as Keitt and Kasturi, are worth mentioning for their levels of sweetness and maturity which are superior to the South American and Caribbean alternatives. Also look out for mangoes from Spain, which will be coming into stores soon.
Blueberries: Blueberries are mostly from northern regions of UK and central Europe and, being late-season, may start to have quality issues: be alert for any signs of softening, wrinkling or juice-release in punnets. The southern hemisphere season has started with supplies from South Africa and Peru, so there will be quite an over-lap. Asda is the first to sell some interesting improved varieties such as Oz Julietta and Oz Bella.
Melons: More or less all melons are now coming from Brazil as the Spanish season fades. Expect a change in eating quality as a result, though the flavour and sweetness of the new season fruit remains to be seen.
Peaches and Nectarines: There are still some lovely peaches and nectarines available from Spain, so enjoy them while you have the opportunity. Soon, the more dense late varieties will take over and the season of succulent juicy summer stone fruit will be at an end.
Plums: There are many standard plum varieties still available, but the late season Angelino is set to dominate over the next couple of months: sweet, but not particularly succulent.
Persimmons: Early persimmons from Spain, a variety called Fuyu, are starting to appear in stores (seen in Sainsbury’s). These may look a little pale, even slightly green, but let them ripen in the fruit bowl for a few days and they should be enjoyable.
Avocado: After a long season of Hass avocados from Peru and South Africa, you may notice a change as the Chilean season starts: fruit may be greener in the stores and may take a little longer to ripen, but should be fine to eat.
24th September, 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.