Eat Hawthorn Berries

Eat Hawthorn Berries – In the “Since You Asked” column in every issue of BirdWatching, contributing editor Julie Craves answers readers’ questions about birds and bird behavior. Here’s a question from our March/April 2019 issue.

Q: I thought people shouldn’t eat apple seeds because they contain cyanide. I read that hawthorns are related to apples and also have cyanide in the seeds. But I see birds eating hawthorn fruit all the time. Can birds that eat hawthorn be poisoned? —

Eat Hawthorn Berries

A: The seeds of many plants, including cherries, almonds, apples, apples and hawthorns contain varying amounts of a compound called amygdalin. Hydrogen cyanide can be formed and released from seeds when they are chewed or damaged. The amount of amygdalin in the seeds of most fruits is small, and many seeds would need to be chewed and eaten by a human to cause damage. Although obviously much smaller, birds that eat hawthorn and apple fruit swallow them whole, and the seeds pass through the birds’ digestive system intact, with little or no opportunity for hydrogen cyanide release.

Robin Eating Hawthorn Berries

Amygdalin is just one of the cyanogenic compounds commonly found in many fruits eaten by birds – both in the seeds and in the pulp. At least some bird species, such as the Cedar Waxwing, are more tolerant of these compounds than mammals because their digestive processes are different. Several chemicals are believed to be present in seeds and fruits to discourage consumption by mammals, which would prevent the plant from reproducing, while birds are able to fulfill their role as seed dispersers.

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to get news, bird photos, attraction and identification tips and more right in your inbox. Berry-laden branches almost touching the ground with great bands of tiny red dots covering fences, tangled in the lower branches of the oaks and marching down the slopes… Who could resist such easy pickings?

When you can fill a five gallon bucket in under 30 minutes, the bait is absolutely irresistible.

And there you are, bucket laden with berries and bunches of leaves in hand, heading for the kitchen and the great Hawthorn extravaganza.

American Robin Eating Hawthorn Berries

But before you get caught up spending most of the rest of your week dealing with your bounty, here are a few quick tricks to make quick work of your harvest and create some tempting and delicious healing foods and remedies perfect for the season.

First, set aside at least half the berries and all the leaves on wide trays to dry. Wash them by passing them through a sieve with cold water and shaking them well before placing them in the colanders.

Cookie pans with cooling racks placed on them to lift leaves and fruit off the pan surface work great. No shelves? Just spread parchment paper on the pans before spreading the leaves and berries out to dry. If you use an oven, use it only after you turn it off and the oven temperature reads 90°F or less. Otherwise, the leaves will turn to burnt powder quickly. You can also separate the berries and leaves and dry the berries in temperatures up to 130°F to 150°F and keep the leaves at lower temperatures. Keeping them in sealed paper bags until you use them to make teas or other recipes will prevent moisture from sealing in, which can cause spoilage or mold.

This will give you long-lasting berries for later use, as well as the first two ingredients of hawthorn tea. The berries won’t keep fresh, so dry the ones you’re not ready to use right away.

How Healthy Is Hawthorn?

Then wash, separate and de-stem the rest of the fruit. You can use the recipes on this page to make tincture, syrup, and delicious fruit flavored ketchup. Now you can measure your fruits and decide on recipes and decide how much you would like to make. I usually make all three recipes in one afternoon to get the most out of fruit work in one go.

First decide how much syrup you want to make. Boiling the syrup takes about twenty times more water than the weight of your fruit, so if you plan on making a liter or more of syrup, you’ll need at least a 10-liter pot to hold the water.

Hawthorn syrup is a well-known herbal remedy for coughs, colds, flu symptoms, headache, and heart strengthening.

Select your fruits and weigh them so you know how much water to add to your pot. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll say we’re using 100 grams of berries, or 3.5 ounces, because that makes measuring water a lot easier. I suggest using multiples of 100 grams for your recipe. That will mean 3.5, 7, 10.5, and 14 ounces as you increase revenue. But remember, you need 20 times the water, so unless you have a really big pot, you’ll be working on the lower numbers here.

Are Hawthorn Berries Edible?

This is an amazing sauce to use on zucchinis, meats and vegetables. We love it on pork ribs with kale and kale.

Hawthorn has been used to strengthen the heart and provide healing for centuries. The famous Dr. Christopher Hawthorn Syrup is still sold today and has a large and growing following by those who swear by its healing powers. Now you can enjoy these delicious and healing fruits all year round with your own fruits. Syrup and ketchup keep for about 3 months in the fridge.

When you’re done, just use your dried fruit to make new batches. You’ll need to soak the berries in fresh, room temperature water for an hour or so before starting the recipes to rehydrate them, but they’ll be ready to go, just like fresh berries picked in the fall.

As a way of saying thank you for purchasing the “Juice Recipe Book”, I would like to offer you this FREE guide to complementary products. Just enter your email address below and we will email you a download link:

Black Bird Eating Hawthorn Berries

Cookies are important for the proper functioning of a website and we use them to help us provide the best online experience. By using our website and/or clicking OK, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.I agreePrivacy policy Harvesting hawthorn berries is new to me this year. They’re sweet and mellow if you buy them on time, and for the past few years I’ve tasted them very early in the fall. This year, Washington hawthorn was sweet and mellow in late October. But by this time, the single-seeded hawthorn was starting to rot, so next year I will look for them in mid-October.

I owe some credit to Josh Fecteau’s recent hawthorn post, which inspired me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh points out, there are many species of hawthorn, perhaps 50 in New England. And across North America, possibly a thousand species, according to George Symonds (from his wonderful book Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees)

, my favorite guide to learning tree ID). Fortunately, you don’t need to be able to identify specific species. You just need to know that it’s a hawthorn, because all hawthorns have edible berries. HOWEVER, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide and should not be consumed. Don’t panic; just spit out the seeds.

Why worry about thorns? They are beautiful, interesting and tasty wild edibles with known health benefits. Some people use the berries to make hawthorn jelly, but I haven’t tried it yet. Berries, leaves and flowers can be used to make tea. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how I am making hawthorn berry extract.

Redwings Eating Hawthorn Berries Photo Wp00150

I will describe two species here, to exemplify the general characteristics. This should help you recognize a hawthorn when you see one, but I

If you’re not sure you have a hawthorn when foraging, check with additional sources until you’re sure, before eating the berries.

This grows into a small tree or large shrub and produces clusters of white flowers in late spring. The berries turn red in September (here), but sweeten later. On October 31st, they were sweet, and maybe a little over the top. Each berry has 3-5 seeds.

The leaves are lobed and serrated, as you can see in my photo above. Many other hawthorn species have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long thorns, up to about 3 inches long. However, with reasonable caution, you can easily pick the berries, which tend to hang from the branch. It’s even easier towards the end of the season, after many of the leaves have fallen off and no longer obscure the thorns.

Hawthorn Berry Branch With Cluster Of Red Round Small Pome Fruits Vector Illustration Stock Vector

Also called common hawthorn, this is a native European that escaped cultivation and became naturalized in North America. It is sometimes labeled an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often and when I do, there isn’t much in one area. Perhaps it is invasive in other parts of the