We started planting apples in 2001 with 10 bare rooted cuttings from Indian Creek that were "pruned" to the size of Harry Potter's wand. This July, I stood in our orchard for the first time and realized, "We have actual trees here...bearing lots of fruit...it's like an orchard?"
Have been enjoying siting trees from the car window too: lots of abandoned free fruit out there.
I don't have a lot of time this year, but I plan to press cider and put up applesauce for sure as well as tuck some away in the root cellar.
I like wild apples. They aren't as sweet and tender as cultivated varieties- maybe that's why they aren't as buggy and never need to be sprayed to produce great fruit! But they're still great for preserving And you can use the apple without peeling, so you have access to the nutrients right under the layer of skin. The flavor, of course, varies from tree to tree, so I do a lot of sampling and keep coming back to trees that make great fruit. One tree outside the laundromat in Varna, for example, produces fruit that tastes just like Golden Delicious when ripe. The trails around Monkey Run have a lot of Rose family plants and is a great place to find apples, crabapples, hawthorns, rose hips, and occasionally pears.
There's a small stand of wild pear trees on public land in Dryden that I've been visiting, between the Town Hall and the Dryden Community Garden. They are loaded with amazing fruit and the fruit is falling regularly. There are apple trees nearby too, but they're almost done now.
As for what to do with them: This year I dried them, made apple molasses ("boiled cider"), made wild-fermented apple cider vinegar, extracted apple pectin, and made spiced apple jam with no added pectin or sugar.