Flavoursome Fruit This Week – wk 10’18, March

Brrrrr! Who wants to think of fresh fruit with weather like this? There are comfort fruits available though, if you know where to look: crispy, juicy apples, sweet mandarins and oranges, and dense, sticky figs, to name but a few.


  • Mandarins: Nadorcott, Tangold and Orri;
  • Oranges: Spanish Navels and Sicilian Tarocco;
  • Apples: Envy, Rubens and Empire;
  • Plums: Midnight Gold from South Africa;
  • Figs: Ronde de Bordeaux and Evita from South Africa;
  • Grapes: Melody, Sable, Sweet Celebration, Candy Heart and Arra 15;

Mandarins: With tanginess becoming less dominant and sweetness to the fore, late-season mandarins are delicious: Nadorcott (and seedless version, Tangold), Orri and Murcott are all excellent.

Oranges: Sicilian Tarocco (seen in Aldi, M&S, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose) is a wonderful blood orange, fine tasting, sweet and juicy: get them while you can! Otherwise, Spanish and Egyptian Navels are also at their best.

The first Valencia Lates from Egypt have been spotted in Lidl (possibly with quite a tang) and will gradually replace the soft, juicy Salustiana as the ‘value’ orange. Minneola Tangelo from Israel is still in large Tesco stores.

Grapes: Grapes from South Africa and South America are still good quality.  There is quite a range of varieties on sale, with ‘flavour’ grapes such as Candy Heart (in Sainsbury’s) and the large-berried Adora (in M&S) becoming available and adding to the choice.

The first Indian white grapes, Thompson Seedless, is also appearing (seen in Sainsbury’s and Tesco), currently as a low-price offer: should be crisp, sweet and cheap.

Plums: Peak plum season from South Africa continues with a plethora of varieties. There is no reason why these shouldn’t ripe well and be good to eat, if left in the fruit bowl for sufficient time. A black plum called Midnight Gold is the choice of many ‘ripe and ready’ packs, along with bubble-gum Flavorking: both worth trying for sweetness and flavour.

Figs: The density of figs bring satisfaction and comfort with their sticky sweetness. They may be expensive at this time of year, but are a lovely treat: Ronde de Bordeaux and Evita from South Africa are the main choice.

Pears: Conference and Rocha have always been pears that can withstand long-term storage, and both are still in great condition in all shops, along with Comice: scruffy but still tasty. Italian Abaté Fétèl is still generally in Asda, Lidl and Waitrose, though sometimes seems less successful as a long-term stored candidate: too hard to eat as a crisp pear?

The new season South African Green Williams is now on sale: a mild, fragrant choice, once ripened (with the Italian version still in M&S and Waitrose).

Mango: All mangoes are Kent from Peru, a decent variety, which at this stage of the season, should ripen and soften without a problem. They will be sweet and fleshy, but not the most flavoursome of fruit. For a better chance of flavour, Morrisons and Waitrose sell a more tree-mature version of the same variety: expensive, but satisfying.

Grapefruit: US Pink, Israeli Sunrise and White Marsh grapefruit are reliably good and are certainly the pick of options available.

Peaches and Nectarines: South African peaches and nectarines, like plums, are still in peak season: good eating quality should be assured, particularly with ‘ripe and ready’ packs.

Blueberries: Most blueberries are still from Chile with the problem of softness in some berries. However, new Spanish and Moroccan fruit (Snowchaser and Mayra) have been spotted in Asda and Morrisons: good texture will be assured.

Strawberries: As Spanish strawberry production increases, some of the more flavoursome newer varieties are being sold. These are often under premium brands, but are much more pleasant to eat as fresh fruit. Look out for Driscoll Marquis, Driscoll Magdalena, Viva Isabella and V2.

Persimmon: We are in the middle of the Israeli persimmon season, mostly a variety called Triumph, but you wouldn’t know it by the lack of shelf exposure. Only Asda and M&S seem to bother, which is a pity as it is a very tasty fruit, though somewhat scruffy.

Apples: Choice of standard varieties is still impressive in most stores, but, for something special, look out for: Envy (M&S, Waitrose), Rubens (Lidl, Sainsburys, Tesco) and Empire (Asda, Tesco).

2nd March, 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.