Hawthorn is one of the most common species of tree found in hedgerows and woodland throughout Britain. Hawthorn has more connections with ancient beliefs and traditions than almost any other tree. It was a powerful supernatural force for good or for evil. The appearance of the May blossom was the herald of the end of winter and the beginning of summer. Often, the May Queen was crowned with May blossom but at the same time it was considered unlucky to bring May flowers into a house.

Hawthorn recipes

Hawthorn is a traditional and ancient British tree. It’s flowers bloom in May and are wrapped in folk lore with fairies and even sexual fertility! Hawthorn has the ability to reduce cholesterol, hypertension and it contains compounds which increase blood flow and alleviate angina. It is a great heart tonic.

Hawthorn fruit leather

Hawthorn fruit leather

Hawthorn fruit leather

This recipe is fairly straight forward to make.

  • Place large quantity of ripe hawthorn berries (haws) in a saucepan
  • Cover in water or apple juice but don’t add too much as you will need to dehydrate the puree
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes & allow to cool
    Mash the pulp briefly then rub through a sieve
    Pour the strained pulp onto baking paper on a baking tray less than 1cm thick
  • Place in the oven for approximately 2-4 hours. Leave to dry in the oven at its lowest setting
    Leave until the pulp is dry and leathery and can be peeled off the trays
  • Cut or tear into pieces &  store in an air tight jar
  • If dried and stored properly they will easily last for a year

Hawthorn Brandy

hawthorn brande375ml brandy

225g haws

125g sugar

  • Clean the haws and dry them
  • Add haws and sugar to a sterilised jar
  • Pour in the brandy and shake vigorously
  • Keep warm and shake daily for 1 week
  • Shake weekly for 2 months
  • Decant liquid into bottles and enjoy

Hawthorn Ketchup

Hawthorn ketchup1Kg Haws
600ml Vinegar
600ml Water
340g Brown sugar
Salt & pepper
Cloves & Star anise

Prepare & clean the haws
Boil until soft in water and vinegar (about 30 mins)
Sieve (quite hard work!)
Re-boil for 10 mins with spice & seasoning
Pour into sterilised containers!

Haw syrup

A great vitamin C boost, just dilute the syrup with an equal quantity of hot water add a squeeze of lemon and tot of brandy too!

1kg haws

3 litres boiling water

450g white sugar

  • Clean and wash the haws
  • Mash with a wooden spoon (not metal as it reduces the vitamin C)
  • Put haws in flameproof pot and add the boiling water
  • Simmer for 20 mins then strain into a glass bowl
  • Pour the syrup back into the pot, add the sugar and boil for 10 mins (or until it thickens with a syrupy texture)
  • Pour into sterilised jars

Did you know

Hawthorn, or quickthorn, was the most common species used for hedging during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries after the parliamentary enclosures. The timber is hard and tough and was used for veneer and cabinet work, boxes, tool handles, mill-wheel teeth, mallets and the ribs of small boats. It also makes excellent firewood and charcoal. Over the ages the haws and hawthorn flowers have been used to make a variety of jellies, wines, liqueurs and ketchups.

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