Now we know: Can I eat an apple from the ground?

People should not be afraid of apples on the ground, says urban forager Miceal Murray – just make sure to give them a really good wash

If you’re eyeing up a neighbour’s bounty of fallen fruit, be sure to get their permission before you head over with your foraging basket. Photograph: Getty Images

If you’re eyeing up a neighbour’s bounty of fallen fruit, be sure to get their permission before you head over with your foraging basket. Photograph: Getty Images

 

When the stormy weather of late felled trees, it didn’t take mercy on their fruit. Apples were shaken from their branches in bundles, some a little ahead of their seasonal schedule. Photos spotted on social media showed city streets strewn with apples, some with captions along the lines of “should I eat this?”.

Miceal Murray is an urban forager who runs workshops, talks and walks under the banner of Taking a Leaf (takingaleaf.com). He’s also the general manager at Clanbrassil House in Dublin 8, where his foraged goods from the neighbourhood make their way into special drinks at the restaurant. Recently, he’s been spicing up glasses of Prosecco with his blackberry cordial made from fruit foraged in Islandbridge, just a 10-minute drive from the restaurant.

He would love to see people making use of fruit that has dropped from the trees in the city. “The most important thing to use when foraging in urban places is your common sense,” says Murray. “Is the place you’re collecting the fruit from relatively clean or is it highly polluted? Are there any local dogs who might have gotten to the fruit before you? Once you’ve collected your food, give everything a really, really good wash. You can wash them using a little bit of lemon juice or vinegar mixed into clean water to be extra safe in terms of cleaning off any unwanted bacteria. People should not be afraid of apples on the ground.”

Even if the apples that have fallen aren’t quite ripe yet, there are still lot of uses for them, says Murray. Apples are really high in pectin so they make a great addition or base to jams and jellies, he says. You can also make verjuice from apples, crab apples and other sour fruit, he says. It’s a highly acidic juice which can be used as a vinegar or lemon juice substitute in your pantry. Murray is currently planning a drink to serve with his growing crabapple collection – he’s thinking a crabapple and rosehip hot drink to ring in Halloween.

If you’re eyeing up a neighbour’s bounty of fallen fruit, be sure to get their permission before you head over with your foraging basket. Follow Murray’s foraging adventures and find out about his upcoming walks on Instagram @takingaleaf.

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