A slight consolidation of the fruit ranges has taken place over the last couple of weeks with European apples and pears all picked and stored; Brazilian grapes in full flow; South African peaches and nectarines nicely established, and the full range of new season Spanish citrus on our shelves. We are all set for a good few weeks of lovely flavoursome fruit!
FOR OUR FRUITBOWL, WE WOULD BUY:
- Apples: Rubens, Smitten and Zari;
- Pears: Delicious Abaté Fétèl, Concorde and Comice;
- Mandarins: Spanish Clemenules and Mioro;
- Grapes: Sable and Vitoria from Brazil;
- Blueberries: Lovely southern hemisphere quality;
- Persimmon: Rojo Brilliante or Sharonfruit from Spain;
- Cherimoya: Fino de Jerte from Spain;
- Mango: Palmer from Brazil.
Apples: The new season Pink Lady (France, Italy) and Jazz (France, UK) apples are now on shelves and, being the last varieties to pick, complete the full apple harvest. All apples are now from European growers with the exception of some left-over southern hemisphere stocks.
For flavour and texture with a difference, try the delicious newer varieties such as Rubens (seen in Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco); Smitten (consistently in M&S, Waitrose, but often in Morrisons), and Zari (in Sainsbury’s) – all quite different.
Pears: The choice of pears continues to be magnificent. Of the four Good Fruit Guide favourites, Abaté Fétèl (seen in Asda, Lidl) and Concorde (seen in M&S, Tesco, Waitrose) are less easy to find, but Comice and Rocha are widely available (all except Comice can be eaten when hard or soft).
Also look out for some interesting newer varieties such as Migo (in Sainsbury’s), P’Apple, a blushed Nashi-type (in M&S), and Piqa Reo (in Waitrose), described as ‘east meeting west’ – tasty. Sainsbury’s are selling English Taylor’s Gold, a russet Comice, which has rather rough skin and probably needs peeling.
Mandarins: Spanish clementines are moving into mid-season varieties with Clemenules gradually taking over from Oronules: both are lovely mandarins. For especially fine clementines, look out for Mioro, often sold with leaves attached and at a bit of a premium. The beautiful, firm and flavoursome Clemenvilla is also just starting: difficult to peel, but worth the effort. Great choice!
Satsumas: Owari satsumas from Spain are widely available: plump, juicy, refreshing, and lovely with their sweet tanginess.
Grapes: Brazil is now the dominant source of grapes, including the ‘sweet n’ crisp’ green varieties such as Sweet Globe, Sugraone and Arra15, and red grapes such as Crimson. However, the black grapes, Sable and Vitoria have stunning flavour and are our ‘go-to’ varieties. Sable is available in most stores, but Vitoria volumes are obviously increasing as even Aldi has stock (best value are Tesco and Aldi at about £2/400g: buy double!).
Blueberries: All blueberries are now from the southern hemisphere: quality is excellent and prices not too bad. There are some very large fruit on offer, which should be lovely, but don’t leave them for more than 2-3 days in the fridge as the texture can often become unpleasantly soft (ok for juicing).
South African Driscoll and Oz varieties are worth trying as they tend to be new, improved types with better sweetness and texture.
Persimmons: Rojo Brilliante and the flatter Sharonfruit are in all stores and selling at great values (less than £1 for 3 large fruit). These are deliciously sweet and tasty fruit, particularly if left to soften, though can perfectly well be eaten when firm.
Cherimoya: Asda and local ethnic groceries continue to fly the flag for these wonderful fruit: the great ‘missed opportunity’ of fresh flavour in this country.
Oranges: The first Navelina oranges from Spain have been spotted in a number of stores, soon to be everywhere. Navels are generally a finer eating orange than the Valencia Lates (and derivatives Midknight and Delta), currently from South Africa. These early examples of navels will still have a slight tang, while the South African fruit will have very little acid balance as the season ends.
Mangoes: Most mangoes on sale are Keitt and Palmer from Brazil. These are decent mangoes, with Palmer having the best flavour of the two. Spanish Keitt are on sale at a premium in M&S and Waitrose and should deliver best taste (at £3 each, one would expect great things…..!).
Figs: Turkish Black Bursa figs are pretty much finished, with Israeli Brown Turkey and Autumn Honey being the only alternatives for aficionados.
Kiwi: New season green kiwifruit, Hayward, from Italy and Greece, and yellow Italian Sungold and Soreli, are now widely available: such great fruit.
Avocado: Hass from Chile is the main avocado on sale, but green-skin Fuerte from Spain has been spotted in Tesco and Waitrose: a nice alternative and from the nearest avo-region to our green and pleasant land.
Peaches and Nectarines: Most stores have South African peaches and nectarines on sale. These are generally light, sweet and slightly tangy, and quite pricey. Values will come down as sea-freighted fruit arrives, though make sure they are quite soft to maximise sweetness.
Apricots: After a long absence, fresh apricots have arrived, variety Mogador from South Africa (normally, New Zealand fruit are the first, but none seen so far). Early varieties are usually slightly tangy and don’t reach the potential heights of sweetness and flavour, but these are a pretty good start for apricot fans.
Plums: Only one plum is available at the moment, Italian Angelino: sweet, but not succulent. Expect the new season plums from South Africa to arrive very soon.
Grapefruit: Supply of grapefruit is from Israel or Spain, occasionally from Turkey. The first fruit may be a little tangy, but Israeli fruit is often sweeter.
16th November, 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.