Identify Hawthorn Berries – Hawthorn trees planted near 15th & Arch! Look at the leaf shape and fruit blossom end to help with identification.
In December, the last community gathering of the POPHarvest season was a hawthorn berry harvest from the edges of the Teens 4 Good farm at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Want to know about future events? Please add yourself to the POPHarvest listserv for 2016 announcements!
Identify Hawthorn Berries
POPHharvesters at Teens 4 A fine farm shaking fruit from its tall hawthorn trees. These specimens with incredibly long thorns were long ago planted as a natural hedge and deer fence.
Identifying Hawthorn And Blackthorn
Hawthorns (Crataegus) are among the most common genus with parts for human consumption that are planted as street and vacant lot stabilizing trees in Philadelphia. They are related to apples, roses and many other popular edible fruits. As such, they look a lot like some crab apples, but both are easy to tell apart once you recognize the slight differences in their respective leaves and fruits – and hawthorn berries seem to last much longer through the winter without shriveling and rotting compared to crabs. . Using the photos in this post as a guide, you can see that hawthorn leaves have serrations and lobes, somewhat similar to a round maple leaf, while crabapples and apple trees have much more unusual, oval leaf shapes. Hawthorn berries have a much more prominent flower end (the bottom of the fruit), and hawthorn flower ends that are small enough to look like hawthorns are smooth. It’s also safe to bite them a little for IDs, as both are edible. Crabapples will be super tart. Hawthorns will have very little flavor, but some sweetness.
There are anywhere between 200 and 300 species of Crataegus, and North America has the greatest variety among its native Hawthorns. However, all seem to have similar nutritional and medicinal benefits. The fruits (haws), flowers, and leaves have been used medicinally for centuries to prevent and treat diseases of the heart.
Their berries are not as simple to prepare or conventionally delicious as apples or peaches, but they are one of the few fruits still hanging on trees ready to be picked after recent sub-freezing temperatures and snow, they pack a nutritional and medicinal punch. it is well worth getting informed about!
*Important* Hawthorn seeds contain amygdalin, a cyanide bound with sugar. In your small intestine, amygdalin converts to hydrogen cyanide. In addition to hawthorn, many members of the rose family, including apple, almond, plum, apricot and peach, have amygdalin as well. I had trouble finding any information on how many hawthorn seeds you would need to consume before you would have a reaction, but it is definitely a lot. That said, be careful. If you infuse the berries into anything, don’t crush or pulverize them with the seed inside, and use a sieve or food mill to separate the seeds in some recipes.
Hawthorn Tree Branches Uk Hi Res Stock Photography And Images
With my POPHarvest haul, I took a full day to experiment in the kitchen. These aren’t quick fruits, although now that I know what I’m doing, hopefully they’ll be easier for you. Get into the slow cooker mindset, set up a multitasking list, find a good album, podcast, or audiobook, and get creative!
Cooking with hawthorns involves a lot of this: slowly softening and cooking the berries, passing them through a food mill, and adding them to the heat with other ingredients and without seeds.
I made a variation of this hawthorn berry chutney with the ingredients I had on hand. As opposed to the high fructose corn-laden ketchup that most are used to, what I ended up with looks a lot more like it’s going to be a good meat or mushroom marinade than ketchup, but I’m happy with the results. I slowly softened the berries in water and vinegar, added the sugar and salt a little at a time, and tasted as I went.
I was much more proud of the results of hawthorns in what I call “Rose Butter” (all the main ingredients were from the Rose Family). I cleaned out my fridge of some long overdue leftovers – a few varieties of apples, Asian pears and quince – added them to about 2 quarts of ground hawthorns, added some cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, brown sugar and some Clover Orange juice. taste, and let it all boil until it was the consistency of good apple butter. Since then I’ve been using it as a substitute for applesauce or spread on breads or crackers.
Guide: Managing Hawthorn Around Waterways
This blog post titled “What can I do with hawthorn berries?” has a long list of great suggestions with links to various recipes. The berries are exceptionally high in pectin, a necessary part of jelly making, so they would also be great to add to any other jelly recipes you’re interested in. There are also some fun facts and recipes on this Eat The Weeds Blog.
Separately from the POPHarvest event, I harvested a quarter of hawthorns from trees on my block to make a medicinal heart elixir-macerated hawthorns infused in apple bran and honey. Very, very simple, and very good, physically and emotionally moving medicine.
There is a long history of hawthorn connected to medicine, tradition, storytelling and spirituality as a plant and for people, especially in the UK, but used similarly throughout China, Europe and North America where it is distributed. I like this, excerpted from Livestrong.com: “While modern medicine focuses primarily on physical ailments, integrative therapists posit that the emotional system is intrinsically linked to overall health. Hawthorn berry tea can be used for emotional heartache related to grief, according to Tilgner in Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth. She suggests the use of hawthorn berry tea to aid in forgiveness of self or others and in opening the heart during the healing process.”
Unlike many plant-derived medicines, scientists have not yet been able to separate the chemical components within hawthorn berries, leaves and flowers for their own medicine. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so both allopathic doctors and herbalists tout the herb’s usefulness for people at risk of heart disease, hypertension or weakening of the coronary system.
Tree Identification: Crataegus Laevigata
If you are interested in this plant for its medicinal properties to treat heart-related problems, consult a doctor first. If you want berries, leaves and flowers before they bloom in the spring and ripen in the fall, Mountain Rose Herbs, Penn Herb and The Herbiary at The Reading Terminal Market will have them.
If you still want more, I really like the plant profile provided here at Sacredearth.com for hawthorn. Otherwise, learn, harvest, experiment safely, ask questions, and come to future POPHarvest events!
It is important that you are all aware of precautions when trying a new food or herb. Although it is edible and safe for most, everyone is different, and there are some contraindications with some drugs (see below). Hawthorn is a time-tested, powerful heart health medicine and should be treated as such. I think reading all this information about Hawthorn from University of Maryland is a good read. Here is an excerpt:
“The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating diseases. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements or medications. For these reasons, you must take herbs carefully, under the supervision of a healthcare provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.
Common Hawthorn (crataegus Monogyna)
“Side effects of Hawthorn are rare, but can include headache, nausea, and palpitations (a feeling of a racing heart). One review of 29 clinical studies with more than 5,500 people found that hawthorn is safe when used in recommended doses. Doses found to be safe was from 160 to 1,800 mg daily, and from 3 to 24 weeks in length. You may not notice any improvement for 6 to 12 weeks…”
The Philadelphia Orchard Project stresses that you should not consume parts of wild edible plants, grasses, weeds, trees or shrubs until you have checked with your health professional that they are safe for you. As with any new foods you want to try, it’s best to slowly introduce them into your diet in small amounts.
The information presented on this website is for informational, reference and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare professional. Always consult a health professional or physician when suffering from any health condition, illness, disease, or injury, or before trying any traditional or folk remedies. Keep all plants away from children. As with any natural product, they can be toxic if misused.
To the best of our knowledge, the information here is accurate and we have tried to provide sources for any borrowed material. All testimonials on this site are based on individual results and do not constitute a guarantee of safety or a guarantee that you will achieve the same results.
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board
Neither the Philadelphia Orchard Project nor its employees, volunteers or website contributors can be responsible or liable for any allergy, illness or adverse effect that any person or animal may suffer as a result of reliance on the information on this website or as a result of the consumption or use of any of the plants mentioned here., fossils of the hawthorn found in the 1990s come from the middle.