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 I don't mind if it is out of date - I body test it and see whether or not it's good.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
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!