Someone had a pug in Tesco last night! But that’s not the only crazy thing I saw in there. Apples from South Africa, entombed in unrecyclable plastic cellophane. “Sweet and tangy Kanzi apples”; brought to you from 6,000 miles away; best eaten before next Monday.
It’s easy for the coordinator of a Zero Waste project to despair; and it’s a feeling shared by many people these days. The packaging; the unnecessary food miles; the misleading date labels. The pugs, unceremoniously evicted from supermarkets…
It’s especially ironic at a time of year when branches are drooping all over Scotland with the weight of plump apples on a million trees lining our streets, in our gardens, dotted throughout public parks, on village greens, and in community orchards.
Free food; fresh as you like; zero packaging; and in countless sweet and tangy varieties.
Riding my mountain bike up Moncrieff Hill on the outskirts of Perth the other week, I was delighted to notice an abundance of green apples on trees lining the first part of the climb. It occurred to me that after another couple of weeks of ripening I’ll be able to pick myself a reward to enjoy with the view at the top. Perfect.
If there’s an apple tree in a public place near you I urge you to go out and pick some for yourself! Store them in a cool spot at home, spaced out so they’re not squishing each other, and you can be making apple crumble for weeks to come.
Or how about taking them to a local cider producer to be made into something sweet, tangy AND alcoholic! There are quite a few craft cider makers about and they will generally give you a good discount off some of the finished product in return.
You may even be able to do what us lot at Zero Waste Perth are going to do: hire a press, gather the community together, collect as many apples as possible and squeeze the bejeezus out of them! It’s amazing how sweet the juice is without the need for added sugars. You’ll never look at supermarket-shelf apples the same way again!
Follow us at www.facebook.com/zerowasteperthscotland to hear about lots of fun events like apple-pressing. And get in touch with your (or your pug's!) favourite apple-inspired recipe. Here’s mine...apple cinnamon oat muffins.
Fiona McBain, Coordinator at Zero Waste Perth