Flavoursome Fruit This Week – wk 01’19, New Year

Resolution: Does fruit have to part to play in your New Year resolution? For most people that will be a clear ‘No’, which is understandable given the routine nature by which we mostly approach fruit. Bring awareness to your fruit buying with the help of the Good Fruit Guide app, and you will notice the difference. Happy New Year!


  • Grapes: Sable from Peru and South Africa;
  • Oranges: Navels from Spain, Tarocco from Italy, and Seville from Spain (for marmalade);
  • Lychee: from South Africa;
  • Apples: Rubens, Smitten and other new varieties from UK;
  • Pears – Comice, Concorde, Qtee and Rocha;
  • Peaches & Nectarinespeak season from South Africa.

Grapes: The South African and Namibian season is normally in full swing by January, but stocks of good Peruvian fruit are still widespread in stores. All these grapes should be excellent quality, whichever variety you choose and tasty fruit from Brazil also still features in the form of Vitoria black grape (M&S, Morrisons & Waitrose). Sable (most stores) and red grapes Sweet Nector and Candy Dreams (M&S, Morrisons, Waitrose) are wonderfully sweet and flavoursome.

Lychee: The southern Africa lychee season continues to offer the best taste experience of all fresh fruit at the moment: juicy, sweet and full of perfumed flavour. The variety is called Mauritius, and most large stores will stock the fruit.

Apples: The range of British and European apples offers something for everyone. Even in small stores, good varieties such as Cox, Braeburn and Jazz are available. In larger stores, seek-out some of the wonderful newer varieties such as Rubens (Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda), Zari (Sainsburys), Kanzi (Tesco, Sainsburys), Smitten (Morrisons, Waitrose) and, possibly Envy (M&S, Waitrose) in the next week or two.

Pears: While the stocks last, lovely varieties such as Concorde, Comice (and Sweet Sensation, a red Comice) and Qtee are worth trying. Otherwise, Rocha is a reliable sweet variety from Portugal that can be eaten when crisp or soft.

Mandarins: New Year offerings of mandarins are mainly as at Christmas, i.e. Clemenules and Clemenvilla. These are coming to the end of their season and may be losing their acids and therefore some definition of flavour, though will remain sweet. Very soon, the first late mandarins, Nadorcott, Tangold and Orri, will start to appear: initially a little tangy, but these are lovely varieties.

Oranges: This is the time for good Spanish Navels, fine and sweet and available everywhere. For the best oranges sold in the UK, look out for Sicilian Tarocco, the sublimely juicy, sweet, flavoursome blood orange (M&S, Waitrose, possibly Tesco and others by now).

Peaches & Nectarines: The South African season is pretty much at its peak, which means the best varieties are on sale: a good time to try them for flavour and juiciness.

Plums: After the long fallow period of late European Angelino, the fresh South African plums are in all stores. Several early varieties are available, but look out particularly for Ruby Sun and African Rose, which are more reliably sweet after ripening and softening in your fruit bowl.

Persimmons: Spanish Rojo Brilliante continues to be widely available: buy the most well-coloured fruit and allow them to soften slightly at room temperature to bring out the sweetness and flavour.

Mangoes: The Peruvian season is now underway and will provide Kent and Keitt varieties for many weeks to come. As varieties, these are very acceptable when allowed to properly mature on the tree, but demands of sea-freight always reduce the chances of success: that said though, the Peruvian mangoes are generally decent in quality. These will be alongside fruit from Brazil and the Caribbean in the different retailers.

Grapefruit: January is a good time for grapefruit, particularly from Israel where the growing conditions bring out the best balance of sweetness and acidity in both White Marsh and Sunrise/Star Ruby (usually in all stores except discounters). For a lovely mild and sweet option, lookout for Florida Pink (often in Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose).

©Good Fruit Guide 2019. 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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