Hawthorn Lavalle Berries And Dogs – Harvesting hawthorn berries is new to me this year. They’re sweet and mild if you get them at just the right time, and for the past few years I’ve tried them too early in the fall. This year Washington Hawthorn was sweet and mild in late October. But by this time the lone-seeded hawthorn was starting to rot, so I’ll look for it in mid-October next year.
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, maybe 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
Hawthorn Lavalle Berries And Dogs
, my favorite guide to learning Tree ID). Fortunately, you don’t need to be able to identify specific species. You just have 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 eaten. No panic; Just spit out the seeds.
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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 have yet to try that. Berries, leaves and flowers can be used to prepare a tea. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see how I make hawthorn berry extract.
I will describe two types here to illustrate the general characteristics. That should help you recognize a hawthorn when you see one, but i
If you are unsure if you have a hawthorn when foraging, please check with additional sources until you are sure before eating the berries.
This grows as a small tree or large shrub and bears 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 past peak. Each berry has 3-5 seeds.
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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 thorns up to 3 inches long. However, with proper care, you can easily harvest the berries, which tend to droop from the branch. It’s even easier later in the season when a lot of the leaves have fallen and the thorns are no longer covering it.
Also called common hawthorn, this is a European native that escaped cultivation and became naturalized in North America. It’s sometimes branded an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I see it, there isn’t much of it in an area. It may be invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem particularly aggressive here. Like the Washington hawthorn, the single-seeded hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. The oval red berries ripen slightly earlier (than Washington hawthorn) in the fall and contain a single seed (hence the name). The serrated leaves are more deeply lobed than those of the Washington hawthorn, but the spines are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to 2.5 cm long.
Hawthorns are common in the undergrowth of the woods here in Massachusetts, but these are scrawny specimens that do not bear good fruit. It’s too shady in the forest. To find fruit-laden hawthorns, look in sunny spots, such as B. Bush fields and thickets, on pasture edges and along streams. They are often planted as ornamental plants. So if your friend has one and you don’t mind picking some berries, you’ve got a simple forage at hand.
This is my first experience with hawthorn berries and I use them to make an extract using the same process you would use to make vanilla extract. I hope to use hawthorn extract as a flavoring in cooking and baking. I filled a clean mason jar about 3/4 full with berries, covered them with 80% vodka and sealed the jar. I’m not sure how long it will take to extract enough flavor from the berries, so I’ll check daily. I know other extracts (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so this is what I’m expecting. As you approach Santa Fe, you may notice hills covered in shrubby piñon trees. Nothing says you’re in the Southwest like fresh air scented with Piñon pines. The smell of burning wafts across the plaza in downtown Santa Fe. Many stores carry Piñon pine specialties such as Piñon brittle, candy, chilli roasted nuts and Piñon coffee.
Hawthorn Berries: Identify, Harvest, And Make An Extract |
This species features in the traditions, legends, and ceremonies of many Southwestern cultures, as detailed in a 1930s National Parks Service pamphlet. It may have been an important source of protein for Native Americans, including the Utes. For a modern discussion of the importance of the piñon to the Apaches, this short blog includes a video and mentions piñon twigs as grease sticks. According to the website Pinenut.com, the nuts had an economic benefit to the Navajo, providing “more than the combined value of the rugs and silver they produced” by the 1930s.
, is also known as Colorado piñon, pinyon, common pinyon, New Mexico pinyon, Colorado pinyon, mesa pinyon, two-leaf pinyon, two-needle pine, nut pine, Rocky Mountain pinon, and pino dulce. The preferred spelling, piñon, is Spanish and is interchangeable with most of the variations above. Although the USDA shows the trees throughout the Southwest, other sources indicate they are primarily found in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. This discrepancy could be related to the existence of related species such as the one-leaved piñon,
The state tree of New Mexico, are “bushy” trees. They grow slowly but are long-lived and can live up to 1000 years. The oldest verified tree has been dated at 973 years, while the largest is near Santa Fe, NM. As an alternative name suggests, this pine has two leaves in a fascicle, with needles usually between 0.6 and 2.0 inches long. The piñon’s cones are small, about an inch in diameter, and very round.* This species may not produce cones until the trees are a quarter of a century old, with good seed production not beginning until the specimen is 75 to 100 years old is . Since the fertilized seeds are comparatively heavy and not widely dispersed by the wind, the species depends on birds for sowing. There are four main species involved in this task: Clark’s Nutcracker, Steller’s Jay, Mexican Jay, and the Pinyon Jay.
Although the seeds are what this species is known for, it’s hard to get their wood for a fire. The aroma is distinctive and quite pleasant. According to many sources, it provides nearly as many BTUs as hardwoods and has been called the “hardwood of softwoods.” Unfortunately, most sources lump Piñon with other pines, which might make sense on a national level. The benefits of burning in areas where it is available should not be overlooked. It is often cited as the best wood for fireplaces.
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The sap, or pitch, of the piñon was used by Native Americans in the Southwest for a variety of purposes, such as B. for repairing cracks in bowls, for sealing baskets and as an adhesive. The medicinal uses of piñon are generally lumped together with the properties of other pines. A tea of the needles is used to ward off scurvy** or for its expectorant properties***. The inner bark could be used to treat burns and other skin conditions. Piñon is said to have an antiseptic effect. These last two factors are the reason why it is used to make natural ointments today.
Today, the nuts themselves are the stars of the Piñon tree. Several places tout their nutritional value, from saying they’re as high in protein as beef to suggesting they may be a good source of polyunsaturated and monosaturated oils.
My first encounter with piñon nuts involved shelling them. My friends who went to college in Santa Fe insisted it was best to crack them with your teeth. While this method is fine if you want to eat them raw or roasted for yourself, the idea of cracking nuts using this method and using it to cook for others seemed objectionable to me!
, a secret peeling machine, was invented by the founder of Buffett’s, an Albuquerque mainstay since 1956. The article also states that you can buy peeled piñon from them, but I couldn’t find any for sale on their website at the time, peeled or not . You can still buy Piñon candy from them, including Piñon Brittle.
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Are larger, more resinous and not considered palatable. Euell Gibbons has proclaimed the piñon nut possibly the “tastiest game food”. Many websites warn against buying Nevada nuts if you’re after piñons. The New Mexico Piñon Nut Company ships nuts. Pinenut.com explained the offer for 2021