How To Preserve Hawthorn Berries

How To Preserve Hawthorn Berries – Hawthorn berry harvesting is new to me this year. They’re sweet and mild if you get them at the right time, and in years past I’ve tasted them pretty early in the fall. This year, Washington hawthorn is sweet and mild in late October. But by that time, the single-seeded hawthorn has started to rot, so next year I’ll look 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 pointed out, there are many species of hawthorn, perhaps 50 in New England. and, in all of North America, perhaps a thousand species, according to George Symonds (in his excellent book Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees

How To Preserve Hawthorn Berries

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

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Why bother with hawthorns? They are beautiful, interesting and delicious wild edibles and have known health benefits. Some people use the berries to make hawthorn jelly, but I haven’t tried it yet. The berries, leaves and flowers can be used to make tea. Scroll down the page to see how I make hawthorn berry extract.

I am going to describe two species here to illustrate the common characteristics. It helps you recognize a hawthorn when you see one, but I

If you are not sure you have hawthorn when foraging, please check additional resources until you are sure before eating the berries.

It grows as a small tree or large shrub and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. Berries turn red in September (here), but are sweeter later. By October 31st, they are sweet and may be slightly past their peak. Each berry contains 3-5 seeds.

Super Easy Hawthorn Berry Tincture Recipe

As you can see in my photo above, the leaves are lobed and toothed. Many other hawthorn species have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long thorns up to about 3 inches in length. However, with reasonable care, you can easily harvest the berries by hanging them off the branch. This is easier in the season after most of the leaves have fallen and obscured the thorns.

Also known as the common hawthorn, it is a European native that escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. It’s sometimes branded as an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I do see it, there isn’t much of it in one area. Maybe it’s aggressive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem particularly aggressive here. Like Washington hawthorn, single seed hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. The oval red berries ripen slightly earlier in the fall (than the Washington hawthorn) and contain a single seed (hence the name). The toothed leaves are much deeper than those of the Washington hawthorn, but the thorns are much smaller, only 1/2 inch to an inch long.

Hawthorns are common in the forest understory of Massachusetts, but they are scrawny specimens that do not produce well. It is very shady in the forest. To find fruit-laden hawthorns, look in sunny areas such as shrub fields and thickets in lawns and along streams. They’re often planted as ornamentals, so if your friend has one and you don’t mind picking some berries, you’ll have an easy foraging experience at your fingertips.

This is my first experience using hawthorn berries, and I am using them to make an extract, using the same process you would make vanilla extract. I hope to use hawthorn extract as a flavoring in cooking and baking. I filled a clean canning jar about 3/4 full with berries, covered them with 80 proof vodka, and covered the jar. I’m not sure how long it takes to extract enough flavor from the berries, so I check it every day. I know other ingredients, (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so I’m hoping here. Hawthorn berries are a well-known herb in traditional Chinese medicine that supports the cardiovascular system. It also provides botanical support for the kidneys and digestive system. Characteristics: warm, sweet

Hawthorn Berry Hi Res Stock Photography And Images

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A friend emailed me this question: What can I do with hawthorn berries? (she bears fruit all around), so here is the list:

1. Make herbal vinegar, same process. Hawthorn berry vinegar is one of the tastiest vinegars – tart and fruity. Try one tablespoon in a glass of water.

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2. Make a liqueur – plain or fancy (bottom of page. There’s also an interesting savory sauce recipe). Plain snaps of hawthorn are basically a tincture, but you can use lower strength alcohol (which is cheaper).

3. Make a tincture. Hawthorn berry tincture is a world-renowned heart and circulatory system tonic (even scientists are catching on). Taken for months, it is considered a safe remedy that helps with a range of heart problems. I find the tincture helpful for the emotional heart when grieving – it lightens things up and makes the process move more easily.

4. Make an aperitif (the Chinese have historically used hawthorn as a digestive remedy, and it is especially considered for meat meals).

6. Make the hawthorn jelly. I haven’t made this (not a jam maker) but I have a friend who makes some every year and it’s delicious. There are two types of recipes – apple or crabapples and hawthorn berry only. I’d be interested to hear any experiences with it. I ate my friend’s jelly in oatcakes as a sweet, but it’s good for digestion as well as meat.

Hawthorn Berry Ketchup Recipe

7. Eat berries straight from the tree. Sometimes they are very dry inside, but other trees or other times provide a pleasant walking snack. I suspect trees with enough water have better tasting berries. Hawthorn berries are full of goodies:

8. Make fruit leather. This eating Brit in the UK is on a journey, but with variable results. Hawthorn berries dry out very easily, so adding water may have given him a mold problem. I might go with leftover berries to make vinegar (oh, sweet and sour fruit leather). Boiling the berries in a minimal amount of water may also be the way to go.

9. Unfortunately there are no hawthorn berry ice cream recipes on Google, so I will have to make one…

10. Do whatever you normally do with fruit. I saw recipes for hawthorn berry chutney and hawthorn berry wine.

Hawthorne Berry Syrup

11. Make a poultice. Juliette de Bairacli Lévy says that the mashed green fruits “have gained much reputation as a drawing remedy for deeply embedded splinters and thorns and whitlows” (from

12. Make magic happen. In Europe/UK the hawthorn has a long tradition of magical uses that seem to center around protection. If you’re not into the hippie/pagani aspects, you can use hawthorn to help you focus