Flavoursome Fruit This Week – wk 27’18, July

Peak Mango, Peak Summer: it may be a surprise to choose this ‘heat-wave’ week as Peak Mango when there is so much else happening with fresh fruit. What about strawberries or peaches or melons or cherries? Well, it’s true that all these and much more are in full summer flow, but their best is yet to come (though you could argue that natural Peak Strawberry was a couple of weeks ago). A focus on flavour would really be missing a trick if subcontinent mangoes were not mentioned: these are fruit to be heralded!


  • Mangoes: Indian Kesar; Sindhri & Chaunsa from Pakistan;
  • Lychee: Mexican Mauritius;
  • Strawberries: British sweetness and succulence;
  • Blueberries: Great quality – UK and Europe;
  • Raspberries: Full flavour from UK;
  • Cherries: Abundant from Spain and Turkey;
  • Peaches & Nectarines: Spanish and Italian;
  • Melons: Specialities from Spain & Italy.

Mangoes: You would never think, by shopping in supermarkets, that this week is the best for serious volumes of one of the most wonderfully flavoured fruit available in UK: the subcontinental mango! If you are lucky, you may find boxes in larger Asda, Morrisons and Tesco stores, but, by and large, a trip to a local Asian grocer will be necessary. Once there, you will find wonderful Sindhri and Chaunsa mangoes from Pakistan, and Kesar from India, and, in all probability, an enthusiastic shop-keeper to give advice. These mangoes are incredibly sweet, have huge aroma, are succulent beyond expectation, and are decent value (about £5 per small box).

Of standard mangoes, Keitt is the dominant variety in supermarkets: sources are mainly West African (Guinea, Gambia, Mali and Burkina Faso) and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic). There is no reason why these should not ripen into a sweet and fleshy fruit, though often limited in flavour.

Lychee: For exotic flavour, there is not much that can beat a good lychee, except perhaps a good mango!

The season continues from Mexico and the price of this wonderful treat is showing good movement: Morrisons is cheapest at equivalent £7.06/kg, Asda at £7.50/kg, and Sainsbury’s now matching Tesco with a promotion at £8/kg (about 15p per fruit).

Strawberries: UK strawberries are abundant and the eating quality has been exceptional (for reasons part seasonal and part varietal). With abundance comes decent prices and occasional bargains due to surplus production. Most supermarkets are selling the standard varieties (e.g. Murano, Favori, Elsanta, Sonata) at around £4/kg, slightly more in M&S and Waitrose, with Sainsbury’s being the current cheapest at £2.30 for 600g. The bargains, if they come, will be in 1kg trays, as seen in the last couple of weeks.

Pay a bit more and you will get varieties delivering good sweetness and more flavour (e.g Driscoll Lusa, Sweet Eve, Eve’s Delight, Malling Centenary), while top prices for top supermarket brands should offer reliable enjoyment (e.g. Driscoll Jubilee, Magnum, Summer Blush).

In this hot weather, strawberries and other soft fruit are particularly vulnerable, so keep them in the fridge, eat them within 1-2 days, but allow them to reach room temperature before serving.

Blueberries: Most blueberries are now from Spain, but more northerly production is now reaching shelves with early season Duke from UK, Romania and Italy: quality and price should be excellent.

Raspberries: All raspberries are now from UK and are plentiful, with prices dropping. If you prefer the more traditional tangy raspberries, look for the cheaper options which are often the older varieties, such as Glen Ample, though can also be the softer varieties (scrutinise the fruit before buying).

Cherries: Turkish or Spanish and some Greek cherries are the main offer, with volumes and eating quality improving all the time. The very first English cherries, variety Vander, have been spotted in Tesco: get ready for much more to come!

With volumes come promotions and we are already seeing some great offers in supermarkets. Cherries are half-price in M&S, who always do a wonderful job with this fruit, now including 1kg trays of Spanish Siete for £8.00. The cheapest supermarket cherries are being sold loose in Lidl at £4.99/kg (probably on street markets as well), otherwise Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are all around £5-6 per kg.

Peaches and Nectarines: Spanish and Italian peaches and nectarines are in all stores and are improving all the time.

Flat peaches, now mainly UFO and Samantha, are plentiful and particularly good value in some stores, e.g. Tesco and Lidl at about 12-14p per fruit: sweet, quick ripening and perfect for snacking.

Melons: Another summer fruit in abundance, melons, mainly from Spain, are now on regular promotions across the supermarkets. Eating quality is the key issue particularly with Galia, Honeydew and Canteloupe, but there should be good probability of success at this time of the season.

More reliable and flavoursome Piel de Sapo and Charantais are worth the extra cost, though the latter is hard to find (occasionally in M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose).

However, for something a little different, both Tesco and M&S are trying to introduce and differentiate improved or different varieties. Tesco: Sweet Snowball, an Ivory Gaya melon (occasionally in Waitrose as Matice); Sunkiss Honeydew; Sweet Tangy Twist; Finest Charantais. M&S: Charantais; Orange Candy Honeydew.

Blackberries: Sweet varieties, Driscoll Victoria and Black Magic are readily available including Lidl (branded as Driscoll). Otherwise, Karaka Black seems to be the main option.

Apricots: Spain and Italy are the main source of apricots, with French fruit starting to enter the supermarkets. Make sure they are nicely softened in the fruit bowl before eating.

Plums: Spanish plums can now be bought with confidence, particularly varieties such as Suplum41, Rose Sweet and Black Splendor. As with apricots, let them get quite soft in the fruit bowl before eating.

Mandarins: Nova, generally sold as a ‘tangerine’ is the pick of mandarins: firm, sweet and tasty, though a little tough to peel. South African clementines such as Clemenules and Oroval are the main choice, both sweet, juicy and easy to peel. The first Tangold from Peru has been spotted in Tesco, a type of Nadorcott, usually excellent, though early season samples will be quite tangy.

Satsumas: Soft, sweet and succulent satsumas continue to be good from South Africa (cv. Mihowase) and Peru (cv. Okitsu and Owari).

Kiwis: Kiwis from New Zealand and Chile are now in the majority of stores. Yellow Sungold, with its lovely tropical flavour, is also from New Zealand.

Figs: Colar from Spain is gradually becoming more widespread: a mildly flavoured, but very pleasant fig.

Grapes: Many of the black grapes on sale are either Chilean, Brazilian or Mexican, while red and white grapes are now predominantly from Egypt. Standard varieties are the ‘crisp and sweet’ types, so pleasant without being particularly flavoursome.

For flavour, the main change has been introduction of Sable from Egypt rather than Chile: noticeable for fans as the Egyptian version has quite a chewy skin and less obvious Muscat flavour, though this should improve. Otherwise, the best option for flavour is the Brazilian black grape, Vitoria: soft, but potent (Asda, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose).

Avocados: Hass now dominates sales – mainly from South Africa and Peru: quality should be excellent.

Pears: M&S and Waitrose continue to offer the best range of southern hemisphere pears, including Green Williams, Taylor’s Gold, Comice, and crispy Forelle and Abaté Fétèl. Other supermarkets stock Abaté Fétèl and Vermont Beauty (Forelle without the pink colour).

Apples: Apples are now settled into the summer range of mainly standard varieties. Points of interest are: New Zealand Envy (M&S, Waitrose), Ambrosia from Chile (Waitrose) and Chinese Fuji (loose in Morrisons).

South African Fuji is being used in some ‘value’ packs and is well worth buying for crisp sweetness at very low prices (Lidl; Tesco Rosedene).

Oranges: Plentiful Spanish and Moroccan Valencia Lates, Maroc Lates and Midknights are great oranges for juicing, and good value. The first South African Navels are making an appearance but may be a little tangy at this early stage of the season.

Persimmons: A reliably sweet and enjoyable fruit, currently a variety called Triumph from South Africa.


30th June 2018


©Good Fruit Guide 2018. 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.

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