Wild Apples

July brings warm sunny days and balmy nights, ideal for going for a walk and having a look to see what is ripening in your local hedgerows.

Wild apple trees can often be found alongside park embankments and hedges.  Quite simply the result of somebody’s discarded apple core whilst out walking or thrown from car windows on roadside verges.

Wild apple found on park boundary

Wild apple found on park boundary

 

 

Apples do not grow true from seed, so a thrown away a Cox’s orange Pippin core is unlikely to result in a tree bearing the same fruit, but will have been cross polinated with other species to form a different variety.
It is estimated that there are hundreds of these types of “wild” trees and the fruits are very edible.

We found our apple trees at the edge of a public park, maybe planted on purpose or they maybe just grew from a discarded core.

Wild apple ripening

Wild apple ripening

 

 

When picking this type of fruit, always be aware that it may belong to somebody or be on their land, in which case you will need to obtain permission before taking the fruit. Take care not to pick fruit too close to a roadside, as apples will have been polluted by exhaust gasses from passing vehicles.

The correct way to pick an apple is to cup it gently with your hand and a slight twist should free it from the branch.  Do not pull the stalk and leaves from the branch as this is next year’s fruiting spur.

Generally, “wild apples” are best used for cooking and making jellies.  One of the reasons for this is that the fruit can be quite acidic and sometimes too tart to be used as an eating apple.  They do lend themselves well to being included in crumbles, pies and jellies and are well worth looking out for.

Many larger or older gardens may also contain an apple tree or two, sometimes a wonderful heritage variety.  The owners of such trees very rarely use all the fruit themselves and may be willing to offer you some in return for a jar of the finished product or a small fee.