Ray Mears Hawthorn Berries

Ray Mears Hawthorn Berries – I apologize to my readers. Tired of making final edits to my master’s thesis. However, as of today, he has promoted me to the status of Master Forager!

Even in the past few busy weeks, we’ve managed a number of adventures after work. One such trip was inspired by bushcraft expert Ray Mears… the hawthorn fruit leather.

Ray Mears Hawthorn Berries

Hawthorn is a delicious little berry with tons of natural pectin. As a result, if you squeeze the berries into mush, they will harden to a jelly-like consistency within an hour. This unique quality has led some to conclude that this fruit may have played an important role in the preparation of the first jellies and jams.

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Many people love strawberry rhubarb pie, but are surprised to learn that parts of the strawberry plant are poisonous. The same goes for hawthorn, where the berries are delicious, but the cyanide-rich pits are deadly! So, like all foods, we learn how to prepare and eat them so we can reach their greatest potential.

Finally, the fruit is squeezed and mixed with inoculated peaches (the hawthorn berries are a little dry at this time of year and a little water or juice should be added). Care was taken to remove all toxic pits from the mix as well. Keep in mind that this step takes about an hour, so be patient when you try it.

After a few hours in the sun, all the moisture had evaporated and although the fruit skin wasn’t very tasty, it certainly wasn’t bad!

An added bonus, according to Ray Mears, is the ability to keep the skin of the fruit for more than a year! When it comes to edible food, this shelf life is a huge advantage. Gardening aside, there are many opportunities to explore seasonal foraging, which I wish we could expand on. For example, this is the time of year for hawthorn berries, and you can make your own candies with them. I first learned about it on the BBC Wild Food series with Ray Mears and Gordon Hillman, but I also learned that it is commonly sold in China. By the way, the triangular leaves of hawthorn are also eaten, but they are best eaten in spring.

Bushcraft Food: Making Hawthorn Candy

A quick word about security. In childhood, many of us were warned about red berries in the forest, as a rule, they were told that they were poisonous. There are many varieties of red berries that can be eaten directly from the bush (for example, red currants) or after certain preparation (for example, with rowan berries). But, of course, there are red fruits that are poisonous or cause irritation of the digestive tract. So make sure you positively identify the berries before you pick them. If in doubt, don’t pick them. Also, once positively identified as edible, pick the berries carefully, making sure that the branches of the poisonous red plant do not mix with the edible plant. It only takes one or two poisonous berries misplaced in a bunch of edibles to cause harm.

To make hawthorn candy, first take two to three cups of hawthorn berries, put them in a large bowl and crush them by hand. Before you think about using a potato masher or a spoon to mash the fruit, I’ve already tried it: it’s best to use your hands. Hawthorn fruits have a stone in the center, and when crushing the berries, stones appear in the mixture. If the berries are not very juicy, you may need to add water. The mixture should be mushy, a little runny, but still thick. If it is too liquid, then it will not settle properly.

Pour or spoon the mixture through a sieve or muslin bag, pushing it gently with your hand so that thick orange pulp comes out the other side. If it’s too thick, it doesn’t want to drip, so you’ll just have to scrape the meat off the bottom of the filter with a spoon. You can put the meat in a small bowl and let it jell (it doesn’t take much time), but it’s better to drain it on greaseproof paper to make candy. As if spreading tomato paste on a pizza base, spread the goo with a spoon on the paper, making a layer about 2-3 mm thick. Allow the goo base to gel and dry for several hours, preferably in the sun or near a heater. When the edges and surface of the Goo base look rubberier, you can place another piece of greaseproof paper over it, flip everything over, and gently peel away the original paper to reveal the bottom of the base. This can be done more easily by starting to clean the edges of the paper with a knife and then removing the original sheet at a very sharp angle, forcing the goo off without damaging it. Once the goo has set and dried enough, you will be able to completely remove it from the paper with your hands like a pancake. At this stage, you should leave it to dry a little more in the sun or next to a heater; if the goo base takes too long to dry, it will start to mold after two or three days, so make sure you have adequate drying conditions. It helps to cut them into strips and place them on the oven rack or barbecue grill once the base is firm enough to properly ventilate both sides.

Once they are very dry, you can store them in a jar or plastic bag, making sure to store them in a dry environment to seal in moisture. Interestingly, they are very similar to red meat slices, so your vegetarian friends may need some convincing before trying them.

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Once you master it, you can experiment with the taste, for example, by adding sugar or jam during the mashing stage, or put it in the next meat. Sugar also helps the drying process if you sprinkle a little on the goo base, because it draws moisture to the surface in a kind of liquid glaze, preventing the oil-resistant paper underneath from getting wet. Thus, the structure of the candy changes slightly.

And finally, I think I should mention worms. . . yes, you heard that right. Hawthorn fruits often contain tiny white worms called appleworms or railworms.

If you like to show your knowledge to others. You can see them as tiny white spots on the red surface when you put the goo base on. They are safe, so you can separate them from wet meat, or just dry them and forget about them. If anything, they provide extra protein. Enjoy!« Fall rides and lots of Shrooms. | Main | Game on! And a partridge without a pear tree. »

I’ve never been too keen on hawthorn, let alone trees. As a child, I realized that it was impossible to climb because of its thorny branches, in the form of a bush, they set impassable boundaries through the countryside, which often hindered my travels everywhere I went, Sikhs! Why are there thorns? As if he didn’t have anything worth stealing…or so I thought.

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As I get older, so does my appreciation for the humble hawthorn. When you think about it, three things come to mind: it has great firewood all year round, and when it burns, it gives off enough heat to melt pig iron. In the spring, its leaves (often the first leaves appear) are a useful addition to any dish. The third is its fruits, which appear in bright red clusters in autumn and have very strange properties.

So, apart from being used as a primitive barbed wire fence, what good is hawthorn as part of a wild boar?

When I was young, hawthorn leaves were famous for curing that pesky empty stomach I often experienced on my way home for tea. No problem, just carefully reach into the stack and pick a few to crush. The ability of leaves to nourish and fill the stomach so wonderfully for centuries did not give them the name “bread and cheese”. Apparently that means it has equivalent food grade…not so sure about that. So anyway, the leaves are fine and probably at their best in the spring.

The buds can be very tasty, but they take some time to harvest. I love using the leaves as part of a classic tossed spring salad. As with many of the Chinese leafy varieties you find sold in salad bags or seed packets today, our native plants can be used just as well, there are so many different varieties that just need to be matched with a little help. has flavors.

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