If I never see another apple, it’ll be too soon

Leptospermum scoparium also known as Snow White Tea Tree. An evergreen shrub with small white flowers.

GARDENING: Your questions answered and tasks for the week ahead

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This week has been mostly about apples for me. Not my own – the garden isn’t big enough. But my kindly friends have been donating their windfalls to me on what can only be described as a grand scale.

Last week I was given a crate of apples. And I find it hard to say no.

So I spent the best part of two days peeling and chopping apples. The outcome is 17 jars of apple chutney, 48 spiced apple muffins, eight old ice-cream cartons of stewed apples and four jars of rosemary-flavoured apple jelly.

This hoard has helped me make some inroad into the vast pile of saved jam jars that I have squirrelled away.

Plus I have Christmas presents for various aunts sorted.

But if I never see another apple, it will be too soon.

I am now considering the best place to gather free blackberries to make into jam, jelly and pies.

And I am chatting up friends with plum trees and pear trees too.

In return, of course, they will receive jars of produce.

So, despite the lack of our own glut of fruit, it is still possible to gain from others. People are only too glad to pass them on to you.

In fact, they see it as doing them a favour.

On my many journeys around Hampshire and West Sussex, I have spotted piles of apples outside people’s houses being offered for free.

It’s a great way to use up fruit – and who in all honesty can criticise food for free?