Using Unripe Windfall Apples From the Garden

Fruit trees are self-regulating. The ‘June drop’ is a tree’s natural way of ridding itself of excess fruits it cannot support. Where I live, here in Scotland, the ‘June drop’ actually usually occurs some time in July.

Some new gardeners are alarmed to see unripe fruits. littering the ground below their trees. But not only is this often entirely natural, you can also use those fruits in a range of ways.

You can also use fruits that you yourself thin in order to improve the quality of the crop left on the tree. Personally, I take a fairly relaxed approach to this. But I do sometimes remove fruits where a bough is particularly heavily laden and under strain. I also thin clusters that look overcrowded.

Slightly overcrowded apples. I removed a few to leave two per group.
More thinned apples maturing nicely.

Here some some ways to use ripe and unripe windfall apples.

Here is how to make apple pectin for your homemade jams. I find this very useful when making preserves using soft fruits from my forest garden. If you have apples in your garden, you will never need store-bought pectin at all.

Making apple scrap vinegar is another of my. favourite ways to use windfall apples or thinned apples. I make use of this in a wide range of ways around my home – from cleaning, to making hair rinses, for example.

Of course, we can simply leave some dropped fruits for the wildlife in our gardens. And simply to rot down and return nutrients to the soil. It is never a good idea to be too ‘tidy’ in you garden.

But when we are trying to grow our own and be as self-sufficient as possible, it is a good idea to think about ways we can make use of things that might otherwise go to waste. Unripe apples are no exception.

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