Hawthorn Berries Harvest – Harvesting hawthorn berries is new to me this year. They are sweet and mild if you get them at just the right time, and in years past I have tasted them too early in the fall. This year, Washington hawthorn was sweet and mild in late October. But by then the one-seeded hawthorn started rotting, so next year I’ll be looking for them in mid-October.
I owe some credit to Josh Fecteau’s recent hawthorn post for inspiring me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh points out, there are many species of hawthorn, perhaps 50 in New England. And in all of 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
Hawthorn Berries Harvest
, my favorite for learning tree identification). Fortunately, you don’t have to be able to identify specific species. All you need to know is that it’s a hawthorn because all hawthorns have edible berries. BUT, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide and should not be eaten. Don’t panic; spit out only the seeds.
Wild Harvest Intensive
Why bother with hawthorn? 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 this yet. Berries, leaves and flowers can be used to make tea. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see how I make hawthorn extract.
I’m going to describe two species here as examples of common characteristics. That should help you recognize a hawthorn when you see one, but i
If you are unsure whether you have hawthorn, check with other sources before eating the berries until you are sure.
This grows as a small tree or large shrub, bearing white flowers in late spring. The berries turn red in September (here), but become sweet later. By October 31st they were sweet and maybe a little over the top. Each berry has 3-5 seeds.
Red Berries Of A Useful Plant Hawthorn. It Looks Like A Rose Hip. A Medicinal Plant Used In Medicine. Background From Fruits Top View. Harvest Stock Photo
The leaves are lobed and toothed as you can see in my photo above. Many other hawthorn species have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long spines up to about 3 inches in length. However, with reasonable care, you can easily harvest the berries that usually hang from the branch. It’s even easier later in the season when many of the leaves have fallen and are no longer covering the spikes.
Also called common hawthorn, this is a European native that has escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. Sometimes it’s labeled as an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I do, it’s not a lot in one area. Maybe it’s invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly aggressive here. Like Washington hawthorn, single-seeded hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree, with white flowers in late spring. The oval red berries ripen slightly earlier (than Washington hawthorn) in the fall and contain one seed (hence the name). The toothed leaves are more deeply lobed than Washington hawthorn, but the spines are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long.
Hawthorns are common in forest understory here in Massachusetts, but they are brittle specimens that do not produce fruit well. It’s too shady in the forest. To find fruit-laden hawthorns, look in sunny places such as bushy fields and thickets, pasture edges and along streams. They are often planted as ornamentals, so if your friend has one and doesn’t mind you picking berries, you have an easy foraging experience at your fingertips.
This is my first experience using hawthorn berries and I use them to make the extract using the same process you would make vanilla extract. I hope to be able to use hawthorn extract as a flavoring agent in cooking and baking. I filled a clean canning jar about 3/4 full with berries, covered them with 80 proof vodka and sealed the jar. I’m not sure how long it will take to get enough flavor from the berries, so I’ll check it daily. I know other extracts (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so that’s what I’m waiting for here. Almost two weeks ago we had a very hard freezing event. Several seed crops were not yet ripening, so we covered what we could with a blanket of frost and crossed our fingers that everything would be fine.
The History, Mythology, And Offerings Of Hawthorn
The cold season also finished the seed crops faster than expected, but for the most part everything has gone well. Chris managed to harvest almost all the seed crops last week.
Today he began the very large process of getting the collected seeds ready to be shipped to Germany to Jelitto Perennial Seed Company, the company we contract with to grow our seed crops.
The hard frost put the rose hips and hawthorn berries in the perfect place to harvest now. It is important to wait until a good hard frost before picking such berries, as the frost helps to “set” the vitamin C complex and stabilize it. This is how you can dry rose and hawthorn fruit, and as long as you keep the berries whole, don’t crush them before you’re ready to use them, and store them properly, they retain their nutritional value well. well for a year under proper storage.
Now that this hard frost has arrived, it’s a good time to pick rosehips and hawthorn berries to dry and use for tea, medicine, stewing as a winter fruit, making jam or jellies – all kinds of goodies!
Red Hawthorn Berries With Green Leaves Nature Garden Close Up Bright Sunny Healthy Stock Image
I had a wonderful lunch visit last week with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We live over two hours away from each other, so our “one-on-one” visits aren’t nearly often enough, but when we do get a chance to come visit together, it’s so nice.
Amy stitched this golden mandala and gifted it to me during our visit. It is beautiful and amazing! It has a place of honor on my wall above the picture of a baby owl, which I also love very much. Thanks again, Amy, for this beautiful piece of art!
We had two more groups of school children visit the farm last week and we had a blast!
Harrison School’s 5th grade almost completely got out after their visit before I got a photo to document their facility visit. You only see a few of them as they start their walk back to school. The school is close enough to us that the kids usually walk to school instead of taking the bus.
Enjoy A Native Berry Producer Each Winter
We also had the 2nd grade from Mountain View Core Knowledge School visiting. The kids had just finished shelling and planting their “Painted Pony Heirloom Bean” seeds when I got a picture of them at their plantings.
The week was also busy for Lizzi. He collected honey from the beehives and the harvest was quite small this year. You can see him at work in the photo above, and below is a photo of one of the honeycomb frames he collected filled with honey.
Perennial seedlings have also been ready for planting, so that is another task that has filled part of Lizzi’s working time.
I cooked a pot of ‘Winter Red Flesh Crabapples’, one of my favorite varieties for making pot apples. They are small apples, but large for the size of crabs, with a deep red almost purple skin and rose red flesh inside. They taste delicious!
Cutaway Hawthorn Berry Image & Photo (free Trial)
I’m cooking more apples this week to make a thick applesauce. I plan to cook Gravenstein apples for this project. I am so thankful for all the wonderful fruit we harvested this summer and fall. Yesterday I baked fruit chips with peaches and cherries that I had put in the freezer from the summer harvest.
We went hiking with our friend Marc and his dog Cleo to Goodwin Lake. There was ice on the lake, but the day was lovely and the temperature perfect for hiking. The dogs had fun and so did we humans!
Cornelia Funke and I are continuing our children’s plant book project and it is one of my favorite projects!
Cornelia is the author of many famous children’s books that you may recognize, such as Reckless and Dragonrider. He has become such a dear friend of mine and we are having so much fun working on this book together.
Hawthorne Berry As Herbal Medicine For Healing Your Heart
Tomorrow I will fill in the text for Rose. Cornelia does the Illustrations and some of the writing. Much of the text writing is my part of the project. Together, we are going to make learning about plants a magical adventure for children. Here