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Apple trees

All Areas > Food & Drink > Wild Food Foraging

Author: Steven Hawley, Posted: Sunday, 24th July 2016, 08:00

Apple Apple

Dull grey tarmac stretches endlessly on like the surface of a muddy stream frozen in time, and the rhythmic slap of walking boot rubber echoes off raised hedgerows. Dotted amongst the green of stinging nettles that are too old and tough to be tasty is the flash of red from discarded fast food packaging – the uneaten contents of which provide a feast for some little creatures at least.

It’s difficult to go for a walk in the countryside these days without having to meander down a number of roads, and it might seem that your perambulatory excursion is unlikely to yield edible goodies to take home. That’s until a passing car – with windows wound down and radio disturbing the silence – ejects a small green object, which tumbles through the air, hits the tarmac with an explosive thud and bounces into a drainage ditch.

A ray of hope in an otherwise barren environment

Normally, such a blatant act of littering would ruin my mood and I often imagine myself chasing the vehicle down like a T-1000 to return the offending article through the open window. But that small green object is in fact a ray of hope in an otherwise barren environment. Looking up, years worth of littering hang temptingly as evidence from the bows of apple trees grown from those discarded cores.

Not all food that is up for grabs in the countryside has grown naturally – in fact many apple crumbles (my wife’s favourite pudding) have been made in my household thanks to commuters discarding the remains of a hastily eaten breakfast into the hedgerow. With a shorter shelf life than their supermarket counterparts, due to a lack of artificial preservatives no doubt, it’s perfectly fine to take a number home for your own consumption, as once they have fallen from the tree it won’t be long until they’re unfit for man or beast.

If you’re not 100% sure that what you’re picking is safe for human consumption, don’t pick it. If you’re prone to food allergies, or pregnant, always seek medical advice before consuming anything foraged in the wild.

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