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Wild Apples

At Grey Dog Maple Farm, we’re fortunate enough to have two wild apple trees. Being wild, these apples are usually smaller, but hold so many more nutrients than a store bought apple. Store bought apples are generally grown for two specific purposes, cooking or eating raw. Their genetics are made to cater to texture and or sweetness for those uses. Wild apples on the other hand, are full of phytonutrients and fiber. All apples offer a healthy snack choice, but wild apples are almost always a better option than their store bought cousins.

Even though wild apples typically offer more nutrients, we also have two rows of cultivated apple trees. There are quite a few types, including; Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Harland, Johnna Gold, as well as others. Next year we plan to add both pear and peach trees to these rows as well.

Our cultivated trees range in age from one to five years old, and this is the first year we have apples on any of these trees. This is a typical mature time for store bought trees so know that before buying. Many people expect fruit the first year. Though it is possible, it rarely happens. It’s also important to plant more than one tree so they’re able to pollinate each other. Without doing this, you will not produce apples. Most times, proper planting directions are listed on the tree tags when you buy them.

So how do you use wild apples? The most common and easiest use is to eat them fresh. Wild apples are generally more tart than cultivated apples, but they do taste good. Our sons enjoy walking out to a tree, picking and eating fresh apples. After they’ve had their fill, they’ll toss the cores to our goats and chickens for a special snack. Do wild apples sometimes get bugs? Sometimes, yes. They’re easy to spot though by looking for a hole or other type of damage. You can cut that piece out, eat around it, or toss the whole thing to your animals or compost pile.

That brings up another use. Throughout the growing season, we’ll find “drops” by the bucket full. These are apples that have fallen early from the tree for one reason or another. As long as they don’t show any sign of mold or disease, we give these to our animals. People are generally surprised to learn that a chicken will eat an apple. We’ve found there are very few things that a chicken will not eat. The goats love apples. From drops to garden leftovers, our animals get nutritious snacks often. Even Smoke, our dog, loves them. If you look closely at the first picture of this blog, you can see Smoke has a wild apple in his mouth.

Another favorite at Grey Dog Maple Farm is cooking with wild apples. From pies to applesauce, wild apples work just as well as any store bought or cultivated apple. We also can a lot of food. Wild apple sauce is one of our favorites. Be sure to check back because as our wild apples begin to ripen, we’ll be posting a recipe and pictures for Wild Apple Sauce. Wild Apple Cobbler, Carmel Apples, any dish that you would use cultivated apples for, you can use wild apples instead.

Not everyone has a wild apple tree on their property. If you have to hunt for them, make sure you get permission from the land owner. Many times they’re found by edge of roads or old fields. Sometimes, they’re even hidden in the middle of the woods. One of ours is in the woods. After finding it, I cleared out the other trees around it so it would receive more sunlight. Now its production has significantly increased. The deer are very happy about that.

Wild apples are a wonderful treat for humans and animals alike. Whether you’re using the drops for animals or picking them to stock your pantry with canned apple sauce, they’re another one of natures “freebies” that shouldn’t be missed. Thank you for visiting Grey Dog Maple Farms’ website and reading this blog. Please be sure to read the others and sign up for email updates.

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