Friday, August 12, 2011

Free fruit

I find myself quite often telling people about this and yet most people are reluctant to do it.  So, I'm telling you, in hopes that you will be willing to try it and maybe get some great and FREE food for yourself and your family.

All over this country there are old orchards, fruit trees, berry vines, mushrooms and other foods growing and they are going to waste.  I am NOT saying go trespass and take them.  No.  I AM saying, though, that it is WELL worth your time to go ask the property owner if you can pick some of them for your own use.  I've lived in several different states and done this in all but one of them (and that was NM and only because I never saw anything to ask about).  I've knocked on doors, left notes on doors and even called realtors when the homes were empty and for sale and asked them to ask the owners if I could pick the fruit.  One once did anyone tell me no, and that was a realtor of an empty home.  Every other time, every single other time, I was told to help myself and usually they said something along the lines of  'I'm so glad it's not going to waste, I just don't have time to mess with them this year.'

On Friday I was driving home and saw this:  An apple tree dropping apples.  Now, these are early apples, most around here are fall apples, so I was thrilled to see it but sad to see them hitting the ground and rotting.  The city had mowed the road side, so they chopped a bunch up, too.

I drove down the long driveway and knocked on the door of a beautiful log cabin home.  A man came to the door and I asked if that was his apple tree out by the road that was dropping apples.  He said it was.  I asked if he would mind if we picked some up.  He asked if I wanted them for horses.  I told him no, I wanted them for me.  :)  He smiled and said he and his wife used to pick them and make pies, but they don't anymore and I was welcome to them.  I asked him if he wanted me to pick some for him and bring them back to the house (because, they are his, after all, and he's being very generous) but he said no.  I keep reusable shopping bags in the car, so we went back out to the road, parked on the side of the driveway and picked up apples.  Some had bruises and marks from hitting the ground or where a bird had pecked at it, but that's fine because I'll just cut that part off and not use it.  One we got to the tree we realized that only one side of the tree was producing fruit, but any free fruit is a big bonus in my book.

Here is what we ended up with.  Bonus Mommy brag because the apples are in a market basket that Private 1 made, the first ever basket he's ever made and he did it by himself.  So you know I had to show it off!

I peeled and cut them (peels and cores to compost pile) and put them in a pot with lemon juice, cinnamon, a bit of cloves, teeny bit of salt and some sugar.

They went into a glass dish and then I made up a quick 'biscuit type cobbler topping.'  Of course, you know I have to forget a picture somewhere along the way and that was the one I forgot this time.  lol.  Here is a picture of it after it had been in the oven a few minutes (when I realized I'd forgotten the picture).

And here it is done and out of the oven.  It was delicious!