Throughout the summer I enjoyed lots and lots and lots of wonderful fruit. Some are fruits I have long known and loved, but there have been a few new ones too.
Flat Peaches & Nectarines
Also known as flat peaches, doughnut peaches, saturn peaches and even UFO peaches these disk-like fruit are, at their best, incredibly sweet and juicy. I’ve been enjoying them for years, when I could get them.
This year a small local newsagent-cum-grocer’s sold Valencian ones for several weeks, a much longer season than I’ve seen before, so I really gorged myself. They have a pale, very intensely flavoured flesh. One week they were absolutely enormous in size, but the rest of the time, they’ve been much of a muchness.
One week, I came across flat nectarines, which was a first, though they were slightly past their best when I bought them, they tasted the same as their fuzzy-downed siblings.
I’ve always loved lychees, though Pete still insists they feel like eyeballs and smell like old lady perfume!
A local Turkish shop got some particularly great ones in this summer – big and sweet and juicy and intensely flavoured. A bag never last long!
I don’t see rambutans on sale very often so I picked this packet up in China Town some weeks ago. The last time I had rambutan was some years ago!
The name derives from the Malay for “hairy”, and you can see why; with their bright red skin and green spines, they look like small hairy aliens! I’ve seen them with red spines too. From the same plant family as lychees, the fruits are somewhat similar in shape and texture, though the taste is a little different and also more subtle.
Like many Brits, I adore dried dates with their sticky, chewy texture and toffee-sweet flavour. But I’d never even thought about what a fresh date might look like, let alone tried one. Indeed, when I saw these in my local Turkish shop, I had no idea what they were, and asked one of the staff members. When she told me they were fresh dates and could be eaten as they were, I immediately bought some to try.
They were quite a revelation, with more than a hint of the familiar flavour of their dried counterpart but an altogether different and lighter texture and juiciness. I shall look out for these again!
Indian and Pakistani Mangoes
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t greedily enjoy as many Indian and Pakistani mangoes as I could get my hands on during their season. This year started slowly but I caught up in the end!
I love guavas! I have fond memories of visiting family in India and climbing into a guava tree with my cousins.
However, when I’ve found these fruits on sale in the UK in the past, I’ve always been so disappointed. The scent has always been the familiar one, just like the fruit in India, but they haven’t tasted of anything at all.
Having been so happy with the rest of the fruit I’ve bought from the local Turkish shop, I decided to take a chance when I saw these on sale in August. To my delight, the flavour matched the beautiful smell and I was transported…
Again, when I saw these on sale in the Turkish shop, I had no idea what they were and had to ask; there are hand written labels tacked to the shelves but seldom near the fruit they belong to.
I took these with me when visiting a friend who is equally excited about trying new things. On cutting into them, we discovered a vivid red flesh packed full of hard knobbly seeds. The seeds were so well distributed in the flesh it was impossible to cut them out, so eating involved sucking the fruit off the seeds and spitting them out. Sadly, it wasn’t worth the trouble. Whilst these were super sweet and juicy, there was no discernable flavour at all other than plain sweet.
Please forgive the awful photo – my mobile phone camera is really not very good.
More crappy phone camera photos, sorry!
Cobnuts, a British variety of hazelnut, are enjoying a renaissance, with new orchards being planted and old ones brought back to peak condition. I’ve enjoyed dried and roasted cobnuts before but had never tried freshly harvested ones, still in their green leafy outer coat. They are quite different to the dried ones, with a really juicy crunch and mild flavour. They remind me a lot of water chestnuts and I’m thinking they might work well in a East Asian-inspired curry.
What fruit have you been enjoying this year?