The fall is the time of the year to practise the fine art of gleaning, otherwise known as harvesting wild foods from public land or from the yards of willing neighbours.
Usually in any neighbourhood there are more than enough crabapples to keep all the gleaners and any resident deer happy. There are so many varieties of crabapple around that it is impossible to know from one tree to the next which will be the best. A little trial and error is in order and definitely worth it. Some of the best applesauce I’ve ever had came from lovely pink fleshed, thin skinned crabapples.
Saskatoons are another great gleaning find but much more rare since the location of any saskatoon bushes are usually a closely guarded family secret. You of course need to know what you are doing. Don’t eat anything unless you are 100% sure of what it is.
Nowadays the age old art of gleaning has gone high tech and there are organizations in a lot of cities that connect people who want free produce with people who have fruit bearing trees on their property with no intention of using the fruit. A little labour on the part of the gleaner and voila everyone is happy. I’ve just finished a breakfast of oatmeal and gleaned fruit from a pear tree and boy did it taste good.
And not much is better in the middle of a snowstorm than opening the freezer and heating up some homemade applesauce. Makes you feel like summer is not too far away.