As autumn will soon come to an end, a dry and cold winter is about to begin. Although a vast majority of fruits are only available in the summer, the Fruitmaster team have selected some juicy and tasty winter fruits to present to you in this episode of our fruit blog.
Shine Muscat: Okayama Shine Muscat Grapes
Shine Muscat is a grape variety with vibrant green color, large berries, and high sweetness levels. This delightful variety originated from Japan, but due to its popularity it is now grown in other countries like China and Korea. The most popular Shine Muscat comes from Okayama Prefecture. The soil, weather, and landscape in Okayama is ideal for cultivating Shine Muscat grapes. Shine Muscat from Okayama are sweeter and have a stronger floral aroma than other Shine Muscat grapes. Each Shine Muscat grape from Okayama must weigh at least 700 gram and have a brix level of over 18. Therefore, Okayama Shine Muscat grapes are guarantee delicious. Okayama Shine Muscat’s season begin around June each year, and, depending on weather, Okayama Shine Muscat grapes will remain available until end of Nov and sometimes even December.
To read more about Okayama Shine Muscat Click Here.
Pears: La France Pears
La France pears were originally cultivated in France (hence the name). La France pears were imported to Japan in the early 1900s, and it became a widely popular winter fruit. Many prefectures like Aomori, Nagano, and Yamagata are currently growing La France pears. La France pears aren’t easy to grow. Farmers plant La France pear trees in a formation that allows each La France pear to receive adequate sunlight. Although each plant yields 7-8 pears, farmers will cut off more than half the pears while they are young, so more nutrients will go to the remaining pears. La France pears may not look appealing and tasty, but they in fact are juice, sweet, and have crispy flesh that taste delicious. Each La France pear weigh around 250-300 grams. Farmers in Japan were able to grow a La France pear that weigh up to 800 grams! La France pears are in season from November to February.
Pears: Nagano Nanshui Pears
Nanshui Pear is one of many varieties of Japanese Pears. Nanshui pears are most famous for their shape and size. They are round and flat and can weigh up to 500g each! The majority, close to 90%, of Nanshui pears are from the Nagano Prefecture. Nagano is in the central of highlands with 78% forestation, and this type of landscape is perfect for growing Nanshui pears. Farmers attribute the high sweetness of Nanshui Pears to the rapid change in temperature from day to night as well as the quality soil in Nagano. Nanshui pears are tremendously juicy, and with a brix level of 13-17 they are the perfect fruit for the winter.
Persimmons: Wakayama Fuyu Persimmons & Kinokawa Persimmons
Persimmons can be distinguished into sweet persimmons and astringent persimmons. Astringent is a tasting term generally used to describe tea, wine, and fruit. It refers to a pucker or drying sensation in the mouth and throat. Wakayama persimmons are all sweet persimmons and will not have any astringent taste. The persimmons trees grown in Wakayama can naturally remove the astringent flavor when the persimmons fully ripe on the trees. While astringent persimmons need to be processed to remove the astringent flavor before consuming, Wakayama persimmons can be eaten straight after being picked. Wakayama persimmons are juicy with have a brix level of 14-16.
In recent years, the Kinokawa persimmon has emerged as a very popular variety. The Kinokawa Persimmon is a new variety cultivated in Japan, the outer appearance is no different from other persimmons, but the inside of a Kinokawa persimmon has black sesame-like dots on its flesh. Kinokawa Persimmon are cultivated in Kinokawa district of Wakayama, where it sits next to the Longmen Mountain with Kinokawa River running through. Kinokawa is also known as the “Kingdom of Fruit” due to its rather low rainfall, fertile soil, making it the perfect location for growing fruits. Since Kinokawa Persimmon requires a lot of daylight and that there are only a very few farmers who knows how to grow this variety, therefore there is very limited supply of the Kinokawa Persimmon.
Persimmons have high nutrition value. A ripe persimmon has abundant of minerals and vitamins. A 3.5oz persimmon contains approximately 66mg of vitamin C which is almost as much as an orange, and it is also more than 100% of the daily value. It may also be surprising that persimmons are a great source of iron and calcium. A 3.5oz persimmon contains 2.5mg of iron which meets 14% of the daily value. The same serving also offers 27mg of calcium that keeps our bones and teeth healthy.
The winter fruits described in this article are all now available at Fruitmaster. Shop now Click Here!
We’ve all heard of the famous aphorism “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but just how much nutrients do apples have?
Well, in fact, apple polyphenols have countless health benefits including prevention of inflammation, heart diseases, and cancer. These benefits are boosted when eating apples with their skin. Apples are not only delicious and full of nutrients, but also available all year around so we can always buy quality apples and stay healthy.
How do farmers cultivate a good apple? Growing apples, like growing other fruits, depend largely on the environment. A well-balanced combination of rain, temperature, sunlight, and fit soil is ideal for growing apples. Based on the variety, apples could take as little as 65 days and as much as 168 days to grow. The most preferable temperature to grow apples is between 8-14 degrees Celsius.
Even with the optimal environment, there are still many processes farmers need to take. For example, apple farmers in the Aomori Prefecture begin preparations more than one year before the apples are harvested. They begin by trimming and maintaining the apples trees. And by doing so, it will not only keep the trees fresh, but also allow the apples to receive optimal sunlight. Then, farmers would start fertilizing and apply pesticides. Once the apples start to grow, farmers would select and remove roughly 20 percent of the apples from the trees. This is a common practice for Japanese farmers. By removing a portion of the fruits bared by the tree, the remaining fruits will receive more nutrients therefore become sweeter and juicier. Apple trees generally yield about 3000 apples, but unfortunately 90% of the apples would fall from the tree before they are ready for harvest leaving farmers with around 300 apples per tree.
Hong Kong is pampered with apples from around the world. We can easily find apples from USA, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and China in super markets or local fruit shops. The most common apple varieties available in Hong Kong are Fujis and Red Delicious.
Fujis were originally cultivated in Japan, hence named after the famous Fuji Mountain. Fuji apples taste great and became popular very quickly so other countries, like USA and China, begin cultivating Fujis of their own. Fuji apples are juicy, crunchy, and sweet. Fuji’s brix levels are usually around nine to twelve, which is higher than the generally average brix level for apples of eight.
The other more familiar apple variety is Red Delicious. Red Delicious are often referred to as “Snake Fruit” by local fruit vendors because of its Chinse pinyin. Red Delicious were introduced in Seattle. This variety has dark red skin with softer flesh, and brix level of ten and above.
Aside from Fujis and Red Delicious, we will often find Gala apples in the super markets. Gala apples that we see in the supermarkets are mainly from New Zealand, though many other countries, like USA and France, also grow this variety. Galas are covered in a thin yellow and orange skin. The skin will feature pink to red stripes. The color of the stripes will depend on the maturity of the apple. The more mature the apple the darker the stripes. Mature Galas not only look gorgeous, but also are sweeter than Galas with a lighter hue. Gala apples are crispy with creamy yellow color flesh that offers a mildly sweet aroma. We’ve tested the brix level of Galas, and we were surprised by their amazing brix level of 13!
Lastly, we must discuss the premium apples from Japan. The Aomori Prefecture is the ideal location for growing apples, and apple farmers in Aomori are the most experienced and skilled. In additional to the Fuji variety that we discussed earlier, Aomori offers many other varieties of apples including Mutsu, Shizuka, Sansa, Sekaiichi, Akane, Ohrin, and Toki.
Toki apples are now in season, and they are the perfect fruit for autumn. The skin of Toki apples is yellow & green with a touch of red. Some people refer to Toki apples as peach apples for its colors. Tokis are a hybrid apple that were cross cultivated from Fujis and Ohrin apples, so Tokis hold the advantages from its parents.
Also, we compare the brix level of different varieties of apples:
Fun Fact: There are more than 8,000 varieties of apples, which is also the largest variety of fruit to exist!
Fruitmaster offers the freshest apples, so click here to place your order today and enjoy our crispy juicy apples!