Saturday, September 17, 2011

Glean a Little Glean for Me

I am, what one might call, a freegan - I will eat pretty much any food if it is free.  Ok...not really ANY food, but I do look on a daily basis to capitalize on what is out there for me to consume.  There is so much food waste in this world, and I am totally OK with being a scavenger.  Working on a college campus I end up at a lot of pickup pizza parties!  I don't mind if it is out of date - I body test it and see whether or not it's good.  And - I glean.

Three weeks or so ago I was taking out the trash, and I noted that there were a number of apples in my front yard.  My front yard sports a plum tree, so I knew it was not that.  I looked around and saw no other evidence, so I wrote it off as some random thing...neighborhood kids or the like.  But earlier this week smashed apples starting showing up in the street, and I started looking carefully.  I found that there is a lone apple tree across from my house in an empty lot.  Right above what I had known was there for some time now - blackberries.

Rolling home from work on Thursday, I decided it was time to get my glean on.  The only other time that gleaning was this easy for me was when I picked 15 gallons of peachcots from my neighbor's backyard...and in that scenario I had to deal with hauling the buckets around the fence!  I stepped across the street and started with windfalls - then spent some time shaking the tree.  At about 5:30 my neighbor came home from work to find me waist deep in the brush, hauling on apple tree branches and chasing apples out into the street.  Hey - at least my dog does not bark and I don't play loud music!

I picked blackberries next.  I ended up with about 5lb of apples and a quart of berries.  Not too bad considering I was within sight of my house the whole time.  I took my spoils into the kitchen and whipped up some blackberry applesauce.  Here's my VERY simple recipe.
  • 5lb. of apples cut up into small pieces (I leave skins on, but then again I am lazy)
  • 1qt. blackberries
  • 1/4c. honey
  • 1c. water
Place the fruit and water into a large cookpot and simmer.  The water helps to keep things from burning (I hate to sit there are stir the whole time).  Once the fruit is cooked down you can either leave it chunky, or mash it up with a potato masher or some other implement.  I add the honey at the last minute to taste.

I do want to say a few things about gleaning.  In my town there are gleaners programs that pick food for local food banks.  Seeing as I run one of those, I try not to step on toes.  I also am not a proponent of picking fruit guerrilla-style.  In the case of my picking from my neighbor's yard, I left them a note in their mailbox asking if I could pick there.  They were not using the fruit, and I offered them some of the finished product once I processed it.  They were happy to comply.  That said, there are plenty of places where no one owns the tree/bush.  I am going to head to the park today and pick - there are a number of others who do the same.  Freegan for life!

1 comment:

  1. Yea that you can "see" that there's food just waiting to be gleaned. Some people don't even know that it's there! I'm for being a "freegan"!