Flavoursome Fruit This Week – wk 08’18, February

The blood oranges, late-season Navels and mandarins of the Mediterranean are full of flavour and are gradually mellowing to their best. Plums, peaches and nectarines and grapes are at their peak from South Africa, and there are still some lovely apple and pear varieties to seek out before they finish.


  • Mandarins: Nadorcott, Tangold, Orri and Queen;
  • Oranges: Spanish Navels and Sicilian Blood oranges;
  • Grapefruit: Florida Pink and Israeli Sunrise;
  • Grapes: Melody, Sable, Muscat Beauty and Cotton Candy;
  • Plums: Ready-to-eat from South Africa;
  • Figs: Ronde de Bordeaux and Evita from South Africa;

Mandarins: The late-season mandarins from Spain and Morocco are known for complex flavour, sweetness and a good tang. As the season progresses, the tanginess is becoming less dominant, with the sweetness coming more to the fore: Nadorcott (and seedless version Tangold / Tango), Orri and Queen are all excellent.

Oranges: Navels from Spain and Egypt are delicious at present. From Spain, these are later season varieties, Navellates and Lane Lates, which are sweet and satisfying. Of blood oranges, the Sicilian Tarocco (seen in Aldi, M&S, Morrisons and Waitrose) is sublime in its taste and texture and definitely the pick of the alternatives, i.e. Moro (seen in Lidl, Tesco) and Spanish Sanguinelli (seen in Asda). As an interesting option, soft, juicy Minneola Tangelo from Israel is in large Tesco stores.

Grapes: Lovely grapes from South Africa, Namibia, Peru and Brazil are widely available and excellent quality.  The best ‘flavour’ grapes (i.e. South African Sable, Brazilian Vitoria) have been joined by Cotton Candy and Muscat Beauty: look out for them over the next weeks.

Plums: Across retailers, 14 different plum varieties are on offer from South Africa and Chile, including yellow (Sunkiss), red (e.g. Fortune, Sapphire), black (Midnight Gold) and dappled (Dapple Dandy). These pretty much represent the peak season, and although variety choice can be bewildering, there is a good chance that most will be satisfying, if ripened and softened properly.

Figs: Ronde de Bordeaux and Evita from South Africa, and Brown Turkey (seen from India and Argentina) figs are all worth trying, particularly the baby, bite-sized version.

Pears: Abaté Fétèl (generally Asda, Lidl, Waitrose) and Concorde (seen in Sainsbury’s) are still available, but stocking of Comice seems to be on the decline. Rocha (all stores) remains a great option, but also look out for Xenia (seen in Morrisons, Tesco), a newish variety, which can be eaten crisp or soft and has good levels of sweetness and flavour.

Avocado: Hass avocados continue to come either from Columbia or Spain/Israel, with occasional very late Chilean fruit in some stores. Tesco are selling Gem avocado from Israel, which is similar in appearance to Hass, but with golden flecks in the skin and a slightly different eating quality.

Grapefruit: US Pink, Israeli Sunrise and White Marsh grapefruit are reliably good and are certainly the pick of options available (others being Star Ruby from Spain and Turkey, which tend to have higher levels of bitter naringin).

Apricots, Peaches and Nectarines: South African stone fruit are available in all stores and continue in peak season, so should offer good eating quality, although apricots have practically finished.

Blueberries: Most blueberries are still from Chile, but the first of the new Spanish and Moroccan season are starting to appear (Snowchaser and Mayra seen in Morrisons). Some retailers are struggling to maintain quality of the Chilean fruit, so fresher fruit will be more reliable, particularly from the point of view of texture.

19th February, 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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