Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stretching Your Grocery Budget: The Art of Gleaning

Last Saturday my husband and I gleaned over 100 pounds of apples.

One of the neighbors had just finished his apple harvest. I didn't know this before marrying a farmer, but there is always lots of fruit left on the trees after a harvest.

There are various reason for this, but usually it's either because that fruit was unripe when the rest of the fruit was ready, or because it is a pollinator variety that is not generally sold to the public (either because it doesn't transport well, or just hasn't been marketed). There were literally tons of apples for us, ripe for the picking.

If you live near any farms, you might consider asking the farmers if you can glean after their harvest for your family's use. It's been my experience that farmers are friendly folk and so long as you're not trying to sell their produce at a farmer's market or fruit stand, they often let you go right ahead. (But be aware that many farmers don't want children in their fields or orchards; one accident, one law suit, and their whole family's operation could go under).

By gleaning, in the past we've gotten enough nectarines, peaches, plums, apples, rhubarb, onions, peas, corn, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, grapes, and hazlenuts to preserve for a whole year's eating; all for just the labor it took to pick them, and the nerve to ask.

We made apple juice.

Actually we brought the apples to a friend with an apple press, and he squished it all into juice for us.

It made 10 gallons!

We were going to freeze it, but we just put up 1/2 a grass-fed beef, so decided to save the freezer space and can the juice instead.

It was a fun project, and very satisfying.

I hear the Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples were just harvested.

Time to make applesauce.

1 comment:

Maria said...

Dan's comment upon seeing this post over my shoulder: "That is a riveting picture!"

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