Preparing Hawthorn Berries – Hawthorn berries are everywhere in the UK from late August to November! Last year I shared my recipe for homemade hawthorn berry gin – and now I’ve actually been able to taste the finished product, I can confirm that it’s delicious! It tastes like a very fragrant, floral sherry, and it has fueled my enthusiasm to find even more hawthorn berry recipes. After all, these hawberries (their other name!) are so readily available in the UK, and unlike some of the more famous hedgerow fruits like blackberries, they’re not particularly popular, so you’re not competing with lots of other foragers for the best places.
So, I did some research and put together a roundup of different hawthorn berry recipes I found online – I’m going to try to pick some hawberries and try them out! There are so many different recipes and ideas for what you can do with this versatile little berry (hawthorn berries are high in pectin, so good news for jam makers!), I’m surprised it never really crossed my radar until I read about the making hawthorn gin earlier this year…
Preparing Hawthorn Berries
It’s a great way to turn a bottle of cheap £10 supermarket vodka into a bottle of fancy hawthorn gin that you’ll pay at least £25 for. Because yes: gin is basically just vodka that has been flavored either during or after the distillation process – so hawthorn gin and hawthorn vodka are more or less the same thing!
Hawthorn Benefits + How To Use To Lower Blood Pressure
Here’s my recipe for homemade hawthorn gin – the recipe that got me interested in using foraged hawthorn in the first place. This hawthorn gin recipe is very easy and straightforward to make, and the flavor is delicious – like a fragrant sherry, but with a good booze hit to it. Of course, once you’ve made a bottle of hawthorn berry gin, it will last for quite a while, and there are lots of different things you can do with it – hawthorn gin fizz, for example, or hawthorn gin and tonic!
I also found this recipe for spiced hawthorn and rosehip flour, which sounds great but is definitely more advanced – if you’ve made wine before, this might be right up your street!
Hawthorn berry ketchup is a hawberry recipe that I really want to try with this year’s crop of hawthorn berries! I found this recipe by Monica Shaw, on the Great British Chefs website, and it sounds really good – she describes it as “a nice sweet and sour sauce, with a bit of a spicy kick thanks to lots of black pepper” and suggests that hawthorn berry ketchup will work well with rich meats such as venison and pork. The hawthorn ketchup recipe is actually also more simple than I would have expected and only requires a few ingredients – double winner!
Another way to use your hawthorn berries is to make a tea or herbal infusion. The recipe itself is very simple: take one teaspoon of hawthorn berries for every cup of tea you want to make, add boiling water and let the hawberries steep for 5 – 10 minutes. You can serve the hawthorn berry tea hot, or serve it chilled and iced. If you feel like getting a little more creative with your homemade hawthorn infusion, you can add other herbs – many recipes suggest adding a cinnamon stick and a little sugar or honey to your hawthorn tea. Or if you really want to go wild, this recipe suggests combining your hawthorn berries with hibiscus and lemon zest… mmmm…
Essential Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
Jams and jellies are the gourmand’s friend – almost always the most obvious way to use up hedge fruit! But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great. Check out this recipe for hawthorn berry jam, or this one for hawthorn jelly (yeah okay, they’re basically the same thing, but I’m not going to get into the great England vs. America jam vs. jelly debate).
Another deliciously easy recipe is hawthorn berry vinegar, which essentially just involves infusing the hawberries in vinegar. This sounds like a great way to create a vinegar for salads and dressings that’s a little different from the standard balsamic offerings—plus, new hawthorn leaves and buds are actually edible, so if you’re storing your hawthorn vinegar over the winter, you can even use it to dress a hawthorn salad in the spring!
Can you bake with hawthorn berries? Yes of course. You can bake with anything! Should you bake with hawthorn berries? Hmm… maybe harder to answer. I’m not convinced by it as a concept (unless, for example, you add a nice layer of hawthorn jam to a sponge cake – that sounds pretty good). However, I found quite a few recipes out there for anyone looking to bake with hawthorn berries – see this recipe for vegan hawthorn cookies, or this hawthorn cake recipe, or even this one for hawthorn rolls (like fig rolls but with hawthorn berries Pretty creative, but not one I’m likely to try because fig rolls are the work of the devil). If you’re less into cakes and pastries, but still want a sweet hawthorn-like pick-me-up, why not try making this hawthorn berry fruit leather? I’m going to try this year because it’s probably one of the best ways to really bring out the true flavor of hawthorn berries!
Did you know hawthorns are big in China? That sentence can be read two ways…and both are correct. There is a species of hawthorn native to China (crataegus pinnatifida) that is a popular culinary ingredient… and its fruit is waaaaay bigger than the common hawthorn (crataegus monogyna) native to the UK. So big, in fact, that one traditional Chinese hawthorn recipe is these wonderful candied tanghulu skewers—think toffee apples, but made with giant hawthorn berries. With our ridiculously small European hawberries, I don’t think replicating this recipe is particularly practical (not least because the seeds are usually scooped out and replaced with red bean paste), but there are other traditional Chinese hawthorn recipes you can try with European Hawberries … I’m intrigued by this hawthorn and pork rib soup, or this hawthorn berry congee.
Are Hawthorn Berries Edible?
I feel that it would be remiss of me to compile an entire collection of hawthorn recipes without mentioning the fact that hawthorn and hawthorn are often used for medicinal purposes. Many websites that share hawberry recipes will talk about hawthorn being ‘good for the heart’ or make similar claims that you can use these hawthorn foods and drinks to achieve significant health benefits. Hawthorn is indeed traditionally used as an herbal medicine, both in Western tradition and in Chinese traditional medicine.
However, I think it’s worth being wary of claims like this. Some scientific studies have shown that hawthorn has benefits for patients with congestive heart failure – but others have shown no effect, and there is still relatively little research on its effect, especially when prepared as a home remedy in a syrup or tincture . In short; I think it’s best to enjoy hawthorn for its delicious flavor and for the fun you can have eating and cooking with these tasty little berries, rather than trying to use them to self-medicate. As always, if you intend to take something as a medication – make sure to discuss it with your doctor first.
First, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not advocating that people should not use painkillers to manage pain. But thanks to the current coronavirus lockdown, I’ve had a few situations where I couldn’t use my normal painkillers, and it got me thinking about dealing with pain when you can’t use painkillers.
I have chronic pain from my hypermobility spectrum disorder that flares up every now and then, especially when the temperature changes quickly from hot to cold or vice versa. Usually if it gets particularly bad I take ibuprofen (Advil, for any Americans). However, since France issued a warning about the use of non-steroidal inflammatory painkillers during the covid 19 pandemic, I have tried to avoid them, although the evidence is not really clear.
Hawthorn As An Herbal Remedy
Then I also have a problem with very bad sinus headaches, which is a hangover from two very brain surgeries done through my nose (transsphenoidal surgery). They get so bad that they also have the fun side effect of making me very nauseous, to the point where I’ve actually thrown up from them several times. They are aggravated by pollen/hay fever so tend to get worse this time of year. Normally I would take paracetamol because ibuprofen doesn’t work for them… But we don’t have much paracetamol in the house and it’s been hard to get hold of lately with the coronavirus panic buying. So again, I tried to avoid painkillers.
And so I thought I’d write a post about some of the ways I find helpful in dealing with pain (especially joint pain, because it’s