Eating Washington Hawthorn Berries – Hawthorn berries (Hawberry) and Mayhave (Crataegus). There are many varieties of hawthorns in North America. Worldwide, there are hundreds of them. Many of the hawthorns you find here are naturalized hawthorns from other parts of the world. Hawthorns belong to the same family as apples and roses, so it’s no big surprise that the easiest way to describe a hawthorn in general is that it looks like a small apple tree with large thorns and fruits that look like rose hips or crabapples. Be careful, the large wooden barbs are very dangerous – they are hard, sharp and strong and can easily go through flesh. There is also a serious danger from the fruit of this tree – the seeds are very poisonous. Never eat the seed – you should take it seriously.
Hawthorn has long been used as a remedy for heart problems. It is now believed that hawthorn acts as a beta blocker in a similar way to beta blocker prescription drugs. Because of this, you should be careful about eating hawthorn berries if you are taking such a drug, as the combined effect can be quite strong. Here is a link to start further research on this matter. I also read that it is now shown to strengthen the heart, and you see hawthorn sold as a cardiac tonic in the vitamin section of drugstores and health food stores. As I understand from my reading, the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) used for that purpose. From my research I cannot confirm or deny whether other hawthorns you find in eastern North America have the same medicinal properties.
Eating Washington Hawthorn Berries
Another hawthorn called smooth hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) was introduced from Europe. I have read that it can be treated like common hawthorn and has the same medicinal properties. However, there is no proof to back up this claim, so it’s up in the air as far as I’m concerned. It and common hawthorn also form hybrids. There is a picture of the hybrid in the descriptions below the common hawthorn.
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I am not aware that the fruit from the majority of trees in the hawthorn genus is edible. The three trees that make up the group known as myhaws don’t even grow in my area, so my knowledge of them is limited to what I’ve read. I’m most familiar with the common hawthorn, but even then, I don’t really try to distinguish between the different hawthorns from an eating perspective. As far as I know, none of the hawthorns have poisonous fruit (unless the seeds are very poisonous), but I can’t say if they are all good to eat. Research what you find and experiment with small amounts and see if you like them. I have never encountered a hawthorn with really good tasting fruit, but they are edible and if cooked properly, a small amount is not bad. Even in the past, they were more or less your go-to food, not the first choice food, when other crops grew poorly.
If you are collecting them for their medicinal properties, it makes sense to collect them from common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), as others have not been confirmed to have the same properties, or if they do, how comparable in strength the medicinal properties are. Different types.
As far as cooking with common hawthorn (and I’m guessing most), you have to cook it and strain out the very poisonous seeds after cooking – the poison remains in the seeds when cooked. You can eat them fresh, but there’s very little of it, because the stone (a single seed in the common hawthorn) takes up a good portion of each hawberry, and with that, the flavor is bland – and – some people report stomachaches from eating them. Knot them. I don’t, but I only eat two or three raw at a time and it can take longer. Because of the medicinal effect mentioned above, I also suggest eating only small amounts of cooked or fresh hawthorns at a time. If you’ve read this book this far, you no doubt know that I’m trying to err on the side of caution.
Basically, after collecting a bunch of them, rub the ends and stems by rubbing them between your hands, rinse, put in a pot, cover with water, add half cider vinegar to the water (some people just use cider vinegar and no water), and simmer for 20 minutes until the hayberries soften. until, pour in the water/vinegar, mash the hawberries and sift out all the seeds by pushing the mash through a sieve to catch the seeds, add. Add some lemon juice and a touch of salt, (may use some sweetener). At this point, if you know how to preserve in jars, you can do so, but I put some in baggies, freeze them, take them out individually, and use them with meals. Personally, using a little with mashed potatoes is different for me. You can use them to make jam or jelly. I don’t have a sweet tooth, never mind. Because they have little flavor on their own, you can use them for their pectin content and make jellies and jams for other fruits, and hawthorn berries set them apart. By the way, they start to lose their pectin once they’re ripe, so use them when they’re ripe.
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A recipe search on the web for hawthorn is here (Google search) and here (Bing search). Do not forget – the seeds are very poisonous.
Below are some links to help you identify the Hawthorne you know. You have to realize that each species is very different and it can be a difficult task to determine which one you have. Most have red fruit, but there are also black and yellow fruited hawthorns. If you find a hawthorn with black or yellow fruit, start with your color list first, then check with the BONAP map to see if it grows where you live. This can at least reduce the number of possibilities. After that, use the leaf shape. In my experience it helps reduce faster.
The Biota of North America Program (BONAP) has a distribution map of all the different hawthorns known in North America. Here is the BONAP map color key.
Since many recipes use hawthorn in general and also for its cardiac tonic properties, I focus on it in too much detail to identify. Below the general hawthorn description is information about others you may encounter while looking in the wild.
Hawthorn Tree Care
Common hawthorn has red fruit, only one seed per fruit, and deeply incised lobes, making it easy to identify. And, because that’s what a lot of people are looking for, it can be a simple matter of, “Yes, it’s a normal Hawthorne” or “No, it’s not a normal Hawthorne, so move on”, and not the trouble of trying to figure out more.
Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Also known as “one seed hawthorn”, single seed hawthorn, haw, may, mayblossom, maythorn, motherdee, quickthorn, whitethorn. Although native to parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, it has become naturalized in North America. It was often used for food in Europe in the past, and most recipes you’ll find for hawthorns (not mayhems) refer to this fruit. It is most commonly found in North America and is labeled an invasive weed in many places. I know the name “Common Hawthorn” is better for where I live in Southwestern Ontario. In the alkaline soils of soy and corn farm country here, I’ve seen it literally take over and fill abandoned fields or where cattle graze but farmers don’t mow their fields. North London Years ago I came across a derelict farm (I’d guess 100 acres) that was a solid mass of full size common hawthorn. It is the hawthorn that is most often used medicinally.
Distribution map courtesy of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.
Drawing of common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). (USDA-NRCS PLANTS DATABASE / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada, and British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 319.)
Hawthorn Berries: Identify, Harvest, And Make An Extract |
Crataegus laevigata x monogyna, a hybrid of Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Smooth Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) (listed below). “x”