For My Fruit Bowl, I Have Bought:
- Persimmon: Triumph from South Africa
- Pear: Crispy Forelle
- Apple: Smitten from New Zealand
- Mango: Indian Alphonse and Kesar
- Kiwi: Yellow Sungold from New Zealand
- Satsuma: Mihowase from South Africa
- Blueberries: Spanish and Moroccan
European Smitten is now practically finished, but the New Zealand version is a lovely fruit. Overall, the majority of apples on sale are probably still from Europe, but examples of southern hemisphere varieties are easy enough to find. I rarely buy Golden Delicious from Europe, but the South African version does find its way into my fruit bowl: generally, significantly sweeter.
The new Spanish season has started, and a variety called Colorado is in many stores: expect lots of flavour with a distinct tangy acidity.
Supply of Hass is primarily switching to Columbia, South Africa and Peru. For a slightly lighter texture, the green-skin Fuerte is becoming easier to find as the South African season gets underway.
British-grown sweet blackberry, Driscoll Victoria, is now in many stores.
Lovely blueberries from Morocco and Spain are abundant, many of which are enhanced new varieties coming to the fore, e.g Crown, Kristina Blue, Kirra.
Spanish cherries are now easy to find and the varieties, such as Royal Ruby and Nimba, are good to eat, though not quite as sumptuous as those to come.
There are few more Brazilian green grapes on sale, such as Arra Sweeties (aka Arra 15), plus the India black seedless Fantasy, firm but rather flavourless. Otherwise, the Chilean season is being stretched and stretched while we await Egypt and Mexico to provide. Stems are brown, but any of Melody, Scarlotta, Timco, Sweet Celebration and Sugar Crisp will satisfy, plus Muscat Beauty and Sable for flavour.
US Florida Pink, plus Sunrise, Star Ruby and White Marsh Seedless from the Mediterranean, all looking a little tired: just awaiting the first new arrivals from South Africa and Eswatini.
The yellow kiwifruit, Sungold, perhaps the best of the yellow varieties with sweetness, a ‘tropical’ flavour and smooth skin, is in most stores from New Zealand.
Anyone noticed that lemons now have more pith? It’s because the normal variety from Spain and Italy, Primofiori, is finished and been replaced by Verna, an altogether more knobbly and thicker-skinned lemon from Spain. Watch out for new South African Eureka, arriving soon.
Israeli and Spanish Orri and Nadorcott from Spain and Morocco are pretty much the only choice as the season comes to an end: expect sweetness, but limited flavour definition as the acids drop.
Indian mango exports by air started up again on 11th May, so Alphonse and Kesar should be easier to find, particularly in South Asian grocery stores. Otherwise, there is a mix of origins of the sea-freighted varieties from West Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil and Central America. Varieties are mainly Keitt and Kent, plus Haden from the Gambia and Brazilian Palmer: only the Indian mangoes will knock your socks off at this early stage of their seasons.
Spanish Canteloupe and Honeydew are starting to be sold, but the majority of melons are still from across the Atlantic. Perhaps not the best time for melons?
The majority of oranges on sale are now the Valencia-types such as Valencia Late, Midknight, Barberina and Maroc Late. These are tasty oranges which are great for juicing, though may have a slight acidic tang. Some stores are still selling late Navels such as Powell and Barnfield: these are much the better eating oranges, if you can find them.
PEACH & NECTARINE Update:
Peaches and nectarines from Spain are rapidly improving as the very early varieties flush through the system. Try the larger calibre fruit, particularly ‘Ripe & Ready’ packs for the best chance of success. Egyptian peaches are also still available, as are flat peaches in some larger stores (e.g. Sainsbury’s).
European pears on sale include Conference, Migo (Sainsbury’s) and Xenia (occasional in Morrisons and Waitrose), but all other pears are from Argentina or South Africa. The latest arrival in stores is the delicious and beautiful Forelle: crisp, juicy and sweet.
The flat persimmon, Triumph, is on sale in many stores from South Africa: a lovely, sweet fruit which can be eaten in a crisp state or allowed to soften.
The first Spanish plums are imminent, but meanwhile the choice is of the dense, crunchy late varieties such as Angelino, Flavor Fall, Autumn Treat, possibly some September Yummy.
The UK raspberry season has started in sufficient volumes to supply the supermarkets. Overall choice and quality of raspberries is excellent with fruit from Iberia and Morocco as well as GB.
All stores are selling the delicious Mihowase satsuma from South Africa. Sweet, juicy and with a slight tang: try to buy the bigger fruit for easy peeling and plump segments.
So far, the British strawberries on sale have been slightly more expensive that the Spanish, but have been worth the extra in terms of flavour and tenderness of texture. As the season unfolds, prices are coming down and the range of varieties is increasing, including some that are less interesting to eat. Best so far seem to be: Malling Centenary, Flair, Magnum and Sweet Eve, with Driscoll’s Elizabeth in premium packs in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
©Good Fruit Guide 2020. 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.