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Down the Lane
- Frugal Living - Natures Free Gifts - More Fruits

Foraging Common Fruits from the wild

Make sure you're within your rights !

The Apple

I've included the Apple because they aren't as difficult to find as one thinks.
For instance, I have a dis-used Orchard close by and on permission of the land owner, we pick quite a few rucksacks full in Autumn.
Plus, not so far away, there are about 20 Apple Trees on the 'safe side of the fence' of the M20 Motorway.

The Government obviously brough the land and just left them standing. So have a look round - you never know.

Beside the obvious eating of apples which we all know about, Apple makes a very good setter in Jam making.
We have made all our jams over the last few years, not using Pectin atall; Blackberry, Quince, Plum etc.

Apple wood logs are particulary good for burning in Open fires, Agas and Rayburns - nice slow burn, they glow rather than flame and very dense wood.
Not only that, they give off a rather pleasant smell.
Make sure you chop the logs when the wood is green - you'll break your back waiting for them to season and doing it

The Crab Apple

These trees can be mistaken for 'normal' apple trees, so be careful - if you eat one, they're extremely bitter!

The wood can be used for carving, inlay work, mallets (like the Apple, very strong and dense).

You can mix with other fruit to make jams and jellies, but may find it a little sour.

Crab Aplle Wine is apparently very potent stuff - that may be your better option !!

The Sloe (Blackthorn)

Mainly renowned for it's potential of livening up Gin.
A tea made from the leaves is a mild purgative and can assist with bladder, catarrh and bronchial problems.

A jam can be made from the fruit and is said to help as a laxative.

Blackthorn in bloom is considered an emblem of 'lyfe and deth' together as the flowers appear when the tree has no leaves, just black bark and thorns.
Some people say that Christs Crown of Thorns was from this tree.


Living in Kent does give this advantage, plus the land around us was once a Hop Farm.
When the old style Hop Farms closed making way for more hi-tech ways of making our Ale, manmy farms closed, but left behind quite a few seeds, which around these parts will find anything to climb up.

In our case, it's the wasteland side of 'The Golden Ball' public house. Stretching for about 200 feet by about 20feet tall, the impression is wonderful in late Summer / Early Autumn.

The medicine values of hops are to cure insomnia and nervous tension (which would be about right I guess).
One fine use for hop 'bines' (not vines) is for decoration. If you allow to dry out, drape some around the top of windows etc. It can look good, but you'll need to replace every year.


Like many fruits, apples are used for digestive complaints and once again, constipation problems are mentioned.
Baked or stewed apples are good for diarrhoea and gastric upsets.

You can make shampoos and loads of other skin / hair products by looking around.
A mashed apple poultice will reduce skin inflamation.

Apples in Supermarkets are often kept at a cool temperature and this will have an effect on their goodness. Also of course, most have been treated with various insecticides.

So if you come accross an apple tree, make the most of it. They store well wrapped in paper and placed in a drawer, but check often - if one rots, it can spread quickly.


1kg /2.2lb
360ml/12fl.oz. Water
375g/13oz Cooking
Apples, peeled and
thinly Sliced
Granulated Sugar

Place the blackberries and half of the water
in a saucepan, bring
to the boil then
reduce the heat
and simmer until
Meanwhile, place
the apples and the
rest of water into
another very large
saucepan, bring to
the boil then reduce
the heat and simmer
until soft.
Add the blackberries
to the cooked apple
together with the
sugar, and cook over
a low heat, stirring
constantly, until the
sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil
and continue to boil
for 15 minutes.
6. Remove from the
heat and stand for
10 minutes. Ladle
 jam into hot jars,
cover and label 
Tracey Eldridge

Nature's Free Gifts

The Apple and Sloe

Before helping yourself to 'more the domestic fruits' ensure you are on the right side of the Law !! _________________