English Organic Apples Season

 

Is there anything better to eat than an English (organic – well we are bias) apple? Crisp, juicy and with that tang, that makes you smile, that you just don’t get from a Southern Hemisphere grown fruit.

From the first Discovery apples of the season with their pink tinted flesh through Worcester Pearmain, Windsor and the later season apples like Scrumptious, Blaze and Cox Royale all the varieties have something in common. Unique flavour, locally grown and the added benefit of having been grown to the strictest organic standards.

One of the most unique features of our English Organic apples is the seasonality of each variety. These means that there is an order in which the apples come and are ready to eat, some are around longer than others particularly as the season progresses, but most of the early varieties are only available for maybe as little as a week or two.

Nature and the weather has a habit of keeping us guessing particularly when it comes to farming however there is an order in which we expect the UK apples to come to market and the list below shows the main varieties in the order in which we expect to be able to offer them to our customers. As said before, some come and go quickly whilst others keep going a bit longer and cross over with other varieties. As we get into the season and by late September we expect to have maybe as many as 7 or 8 varieties available at the same time.

 

English Organic Apple Seasonal Order

 

Discovery

Scrumptious

Lena

Worcester Pearmain

Windsor

Elstar

Rajka

Blaze

Red Pippin

Fuji

Spartan

Cox Orange Pippin

Cox Royale

Crimson Crisp

Evita

Gala

Braeburn

 

 

Organic Juicing Why?

If you’re looking for juicing recipes that rejuvenate, cleanse, energise, improve diet or help with recovery, then you’re doing so because you have the best intentions of putting good nutrients into your body.

Drinking homemade juice is a great way to get healthy. Here are three key reasons why:

  • It’s an efficient way to absorb nutrients from fruits, vegetables and salads
  • It makes it much easier to consume more fruits, vegetables and salads
  • It makes it much easier to consume a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and salads.

Although consuming some juice is better than no juice at all, the BEST way of benefiting from your juicing recipes is to make them using ONLY organic ingredients and to drink them as soon after preparation as possible.

Why you should only create your juices using organic ingredients:

When you juice non-organic fresh fruits, vegetables and salads that have been grown using pesticides made with chemicals, you are not only consuming the nutrients, but also the chemicals in the pesticides. That’s why it’s always best to grow your own fruits, vegetables and salads, but when that’s not possible, you should always buy organic. Some people argue that peeling and washing non-organic produce will remove all of the pesticide chemicals – but this is not true. Many of the chemicals from pesticides are stored inside the fibres of the fruits and vegetables themselves making it impossible to remove the bulk of the chemicals, whereas organic produce is free from chemicals so you’ll only be getting the goodness from your juices.

Why you should drink your juice quickly after preparation (and avoid storing for days):

When you remove protective skins and change the composition of your fruits, vegetables and salads from solids to liquids, oxidisation begins to take place immediately. Oxidisation destroys the enzymes in juice. If you make your juices using non-organic ingredients and leave it to oxidise for too long before consuming, then oxidisation will kill some of the chemicals from the pesticides, but it will also kill the beneficial enzymes and nutrients in your juice – which is bad news if you want to reap the full health benefits of your juice. If you’re juicing using organic ingredients, then you don’t need to worry about chemicals, but we recommend that you drink your organic juice pronto once it’s made in order to fully benefit from its nutritional benefits. If you need to juice in advance then make sure you keep the juices in the fridge until you are ready to drink them.

HOW TO KNOW IF AN AVOCADO IS OVERRIPE

Colour is often mistaken as the indicator of ripeness for avocados. Colour is an indicator, but “feel” is a better measure of ripeness of fresh avocados.

Fresh avocados do not ripen on the tree, they ripen or “soften” after they have been harvested. Fresh Hass avocados are unique from some of the other varieties of avocados because they can change from a dark-green colour to almost black when fully ripe. Although skin color can help in the initial visual selection of fresh Hass avocados it is not always the best indicator for ripeness. Ripeness is ultimately determined by consistency. Colour can sometimes be misleading as avocado “softening” can occur at a varying rate, independent of the colour.

 

Here’s how to pick the best fresh Hass avocados – Step by Step:

Step 1 – When comparing a group of Hass avocados, check the outside colour of the skin of the avocados for any that are darker in colour than the others. These may be riper than Hass avocados with lighter skin. Check the outer skin of the avocado for any large indentations as this may be a sign that the fruit has been bruised.

 Note: Avocado colour does not always indicate ripeness. Ripe avocados will yield to firm gentle pressure in the palm of your hand.

Step 2 – Place the avocado in the palm of your hand.

Step 3 – Gently squeeze without applying your fingertips as this can cause bruising and feel.

Ripe: If the avocado yields to firm gentle pressure you know it’s ripe and ready-to-eat.

An overripe avocado will often display some of the following characteristics:

  • A mushy dented outer skin.
  • Will feel soft like a tomato and will not have that slight firmness when held.
  • When cut, the inner flesh may appear dark or brown throughout. If the browning is only in certain spots, this is known as bruising and is not an indicator of the fruit being overripe.
  • Smell rancid.
  • Have the beginnings of mold starting to form.

For more information on everything avocado why not try:

https://www.avocadocentral.com/

The Rain in Spain is meant to fall mainly on the plain how ever someone forgot to tell the rain that.

Ever since the Brexit vote in June and the devaluation of sterling against the US Dollar and the Euro, we have seen a marked increase in prices of fresh produce. In the early months, with this being close to 20%, the effect on our market was still limited due to the abundance of UK grown produce and the relatively small amount of imports from Mainland Europe.

As we head into the winter months the amount we import from countries such as France, Italy and Spain always increases to the point where we become totally reliant on them for crops such as Aubergine, Courgette, Tomatoes and all our fresh salad lines not to mention of course the obvious citrus lines. By the end of November the effect of the higher prices was already being felt due to Sterling’s relative weakness and the rain in the last two weeks in Southern Spain this is only likely to add to this upward pressure on prices as supply tightens.

Working with our growers in Spain we are doing all we can to keep prices down as much as possible and hoping that the worst of the rain has now left the area.

Who knows, with Christmas just a week away maybe it will snow in Spain!

By Mid-October it is safe to say, I think, that Autumn is here and with the weather forecast I have seen for the rest of this week soon there will be no doubt. On the up side (unless of course you like cold, wet and windy weather) there is lots of lovely produce to look forward to.

This next month is when English apples are at their best and whilst many of our vegetables lines may well improve with a bit of a frost on them apples don’t and in fact by the time any frost hits should be all off the trees and in store. With varieties such as Autumn Red, Windsor, Rajka and the ‘marmite’ of the apple world the Ergemont Russet, it is really worth taking the time to try as many of these different apple types as possible.

Squashes are the other big player at this time of the year, you don’t have to make do with just using Butternut but instead you can try varieties like Crown Prince, Harlequin, Turks Turban and Spaghetti.  Pumpkins are ready now and we know are great for carving but don’t forget you can eat them as well.

 

 

This time of year we see the first of the European New Season Lemons from Spain and Sicily. After a few months of Southern Hemisphere fruit it is great to get fruit that is grown a little closer to home however there is one small problem and that is the colour, these early fruit are green.

In most of our minds lemons are yellow (and while we are on the subject limes are green) however this is not always the case but just what we are used to, (some varieties of limes turn yellow when ripe). We have even taken the popular names for these two fruit and attached them to colours, lemon and lime mean yellow and green to us all.

Lemon trees themselves are quite different to how most of us imagine fruit to grow, some varieties like the Femminello, which is Sicily’s most common lemon variety, are continuously blooming and in the correct conditions will blossom five times in a single year with each flowering producing its own fruit. From a fruit production point of view this is what gives us these early Verdelli lemons (they come mainly from a forced flowering the previous July – August).

So why are these lemons green and the next fruit, the Primofiore, more yellow, well it all comes down to temperature. As summer gives way to autumn the days and nights get colder but more importantly the temperature differential between day and night also gets greater. This temperature differential essentially shocks the fruit into turning yellow (there are of course all sorts of clever chemical processes taking place including chlorophyll in the fruit). Many people believe that a green lemon is not ripe but this is not necessarily true, often there is little difference in terms of juice and acidity levels (taste) of green and yellow fruit.

It is possible for us to replicate this natural process, some growers with the green fruit picked have been known to place the fruit in a fridge and then in a warmer warehouse. Repeating this process several times over a few days will cause the fruit to become more yellow. The ‘gassing’ of the fruit using ethylene along with careful temperature and humidity control will also de-green lemons however this is not a process that is generally used with organic fruit.

 

This week I ate my first Organic English Apple of the season, a Discovery Apple from Paul Ward an amazing Kent based organic grower. Every year it is the same, that first bite into a real apple with real flavour evokes such powerful memories. Transported back to my uncle’s farm in North Devon and their orchard of old apple trees, the taste explosion and that unmistakable tartness. All the apples we eat from January through to this wonderful time of year basically taste the same, Royal Gala, Braeburn, Pink Lady, all crisp, all juicy but all devoid of any real flavour. I am sure if the person writing this was a wine connoisseur then they would be using words like ‘complex’ and ‘with a hint of berries’ but I’m not one of those so all I can say is that they taste amazing.

What is even better about this first of the English Apples is that we still have Early Windsor, Scrumptious, Kids Orange, Lambourne, Red Pippin, Topaz and of course Egremont Russett’s (to name but a few of the 30 or more varieties we will have over the next 4 or 5 months) to look forward too.

I for one cannot wait, this is what the seasons are all about. Enjoying something this is available now, at it’s best now and then gone again until this time next year.