Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Scrumping: a sad tale

This could have a happy ending but this story isn’t told yet.

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Two years ago I had a bucket full of crabapples. A neighbour had an ornamental fruit tree in her garden and she assumed that the fruit wasn’t something you could eat.

But I decided something different. I found an amazing recipe for crabapple and chilli jelly. And sure enough those apples that she thought was some kind of cherry made great jelly!

So last year I was keen to repeat the success but unfortunately her crabapples were no good! the birds ate them, the caterpillars ate them, everything was against me, including the weather.

But I had a cunning plan.

At my work there were some crabapple trees that were just coming to fruit.

I asked permission to use them and soon had a small bag full.

But then I noticed something else.

On my way to work there was a small apple tree just by the side of the road.

It was strange because this little tree was on a patch of waste ground.

It was fairly neglected and a tree next to it was overgrown with ivy poor little tree, forgotten by everybody.

I decided to stop and take a closer look.

The tree was covered in crabapples!
They were larger than the ones I already had and a lot more prolific.

I could hardly believe my luck!

It was a bit of a gamble after all I don’t really know what the rules about scrumping are in Holland.

But the tree was in an open space so I decided to risk it and filled another bag with crabapples.

The resulting jelly was fantastic. I was really pleased and it meant that I’d foraged fruit that would not have been used and actually used nature’s resource at its source.

But of course there is a twist in this tale and involves a sad story.

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Three reason it is on waste ground is because it’s in the middle of a project to redevelop the area where it’s growing. Over the last five years, a section of the housing has been demolished and rebuilt to provide different accommodation for local people.

The next section on the other side of the patch of waste ground has just been emptied and squatters have been removed. The board shown above is now on the waste ground and it’s a little bit of an omen.

No I’ve recently written that the Dutch are keen to sustain trees and keep them in place and permits are required if you want to cut one down. However I’m not sure whether this tree is large enough to actually survive and it may still remain in the way.

So today I stopped to take this photograph. Sure enough the tree is still there, the wasteground is getting more and more overgrown. It’s not clear what’s happening yet and it’s not clear what’s going to happen to this tree.

But to my surprise as I got closer to take the photograph I was amazed.

There on the branches of the tree were as many fruit as last year already. She is groaning under the weight of hundreds of small crabapples.

And amazingly enough, though it’s still July, those crabapples are deep, dark red.

It’s been a really mild spring and warm early summer. I wonder if the tree is trying to get her fruit before her fate is decided.

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I think I may have to make my scrumping appointment earlier this year but either way, it looks like I’ll be making plenty of chilli jelly one more time!

have you ever scrumped apples or other fruit from somewhere? What was the story?

I hope I can give you a positive update to this story over the next few months. We shall have to wait-and-see.

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32 comments on “Scrumping: a sad tale

  1. lindaswildlifegarden
    August 6, 2014

    Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Lovely post Liz thank you for sharing you could save the seeds and try and grow one or if their are plenty of side shoots take a cutting off it and plant it on your allotment thank you for sharing

    Like

  2. Rachel's Ramblings
    August 6, 2014

    We called it progging apples where I came from in Ireland. I once progged damsons and made damson jam. My dad added ‘stolen’ to the jam label.

    Like

  3. Rachel's Ramblings
    August 6, 2014

    We called it progging apples where I came from in Ireland. I once progged damsons and made damson jam. My dad added ‘stolen’ to the jam label.

    Like

  4. mylatinnotebook
    August 6, 2014

    Glad you were successful in the end! Our apples won’t be ready for another month or so. My one attempt at making crab apple jelly from our tree was pretty awful…

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 7, 2014

      The chilli jelly was one of the vest things we made. Hope you have more success next time!

      Like

  5. silverbells2012
    August 6, 2014

    Yes, I hope there will be a positive end to this story.

    Scrumping is a new word for me… there is a community orchard in my village where we are all welcome to pick the fruit. Not been down there since the trees and bushes first got going so it would be interesting to see how the orchard has developed.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 7, 2014

      That sounds brilliant! What a great idea!

      Like

      • silverbells2012
        August 7, 2014

        Yes, great use of communal land. I really should take a look down there and ‘report’ back….

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        We’ll be doing the same to see if the scrumping tree has been cut down yet.

        Like

      • silverbells2012
        August 7, 2014

        looks very much like an established tree to me, so hope it hasn’t!

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        I hope so too.

        Like

  6. Expat Eye
    August 6, 2014

    Scrumping is a great word – new to me too! 🙂

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 7, 2014

      Really. Another Irish friend said progging? Ring any bells.

      Like

      • Expat Eye
        August 7, 2014

        Nope. Guess I’m mixing in the wrong circles 😉

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        City girl?

        Like

      • Expat Eye
        August 7, 2014

        You know it 😉

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        Ah well. Need to get you climbing over fences. And up trees!

        Like

      • Expat Eye
        August 7, 2014

        I might have to shortly 😉

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        Not sure that’s allowed in Germany though.

        Like

      • Expat Eye
        August 7, 2014

        Hopefully nobody will be chasing me there. 🙂

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        Ach you don’t mean that.

        Like

      • Expat Eye
        August 7, 2014

        Wait for it 🙂

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        : )

        Like

  7. truckerturningwrite
    August 6, 2014

    We used to call it progging when I was a kid. I have no idea where the term came from, it was always called progging.
    It was for the thrill more than anything.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 7, 2014

      I’m just back from holidays and can’t wait to see if the tree is still there so we can get a batch this year. Progging brilliant!

      Like

  8. Tilly Frueh
    August 7, 2014

    I have never made jelly with crab apples. I think that would be fun to try.

    I’d never heard of scrumping either.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 7, 2014

      It was a great success. Especially as people here think they are only decorative. It was a great success!

      Like

  9. I found some kumquat trees on the verge the other day. I only took the ones that had fallen in case the person whose house they were outside wanted them – although I doubt they did. The trees were laden! I also found a pink peppercorn tree last week : )

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 7, 2014

      Kumquats and pink peppercorns sounds fantastic. I hate when I see fruit trees in domestic settings where the fruit isn’t used. Sometimes it’s worth knocking on the door as the owner may not know what the fruit are. You might gain a harvest!

      Like

      • My friend has tried that where she lives (fairly close by), and is always told no. We live in a rich area of town and people like to have fruit trees for ornamental purposes… such a waste >: (

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 7, 2014

        That’s such a shame! Wasting food for the sake of decoration. Very frustrating.

        Like

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