Where To Find Hawthorn Berries In Northern Idaho – Black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) or western thorn apple is a Pacific Northwest native tree that I avoided as a child in northern Idaho because of its thorny branches and late summer host of small, but prolific, slimy trees. Sawfly Larval Stage Sawfly larvae, known as pear slugs, move about like miniature slugs on foliage, all the while skeletonizing the leaves of hawthorn and pear trees. Having spent so much time in the lowlands and lawns of my childhood, I was well acquainted with sharp thorns and “slimy slugs” as I crawled and struggled. However, I loved the hawthorn bloom time in mid-May and the large population of bees buzzing about pollinating its flower spikes. Little did I know at the time that the sawfly is a tiny, stingless bee that helps pollinate its musky flowers.
Hawthorn with its flowers, leaves and hawthorns is one of the most important medicinal plants in our herbal pharmacy. Starting with the tender green leaves that open in the spring when I want to pick them for lemon green tea or as a salad green, and then in the flowering stage when the flower clusters are picked for tea and tinctures and go to harvest. From hawthorns or berries for tinctures, and infused honeys, shrubs and tonic syrups, hawthorn promotes health. Some herbalists and hobbyists also collect twigs, thorns and bark and add them to their products. Hawthorn has countless healing properties, but is perhaps best known in Western herbal traditions for its use as a gentle heart tonic. To quote herbalist Michael Moore, from his book “Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West” (1993), …” In recent years, the berries are increasingly used in syrup or tea to strengthen connective tissue weakened by excessive inflammation. has been used (because hawthorn) contains a) high levels of flavonoids, especially in dark-colored varieties…”
Where To Find Hawthorn Berries In Northern Idaho
On Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, there are two species of hawthorn that we use medicinally: common hawthorn, also known as red hawthorn or single-seeded hawthorn (C. monogyna), a species native to Europe that is often naturalized. The other is black hawthorn, (C. douglasii) a North American native species with which we are most familiar, and so we use its hawthorns for their familiar flavor, even though they have more seeds than the common, single-seeded red hawthorn. Fortunately on the peninsula, neither hosts the pear snail, although both have nasty thorns that sometimes make harvesting a conscious challenge.
Hawthorn (crataegus Spp.) Rusts
Our nearest wild hawthorn tree grows in a hedge that borders a nearby farm. Hedgerows are dynamic communities that provide food and home for an abundance of wildlife including birds, small rodents, feral cats, snakes, various insects and those that feast on the animals, insects and plants that live there, such as hawks. those who live there provide Hawthorn upper branches and coyotes searching for holes and tunnels along borders. One day I did a count of plant species in a quarter mile of hedgerow and came up with over sixty! Many of these species have medicinal properties and can also be considered as forage foods, including nettle and stinging nettle, blackberry and blue elder.
Within that hedge grows a common red hawthorn, or seed, about twenty-five feet high. One day in the middle of May, when the tree was in full bloom, I stood and poked my head into the tree to the sound of insects buzzing, so alive and alive as I had never felt before. . To return from during the summer, this tree holds its branches for grouse and families of spotted toads that move in and out of hidden nests. It provides places to chew for flickers, chickadees, American goldfinches and even hummingbirds warming themselves from their lethargy in the early morning sun. Late this fall or early next spring, it will host flocks of cedar waxwings that, along with robins, will eat the ripe red anemones, which will litter the ground for mice, quail, and squirrels.
Already this year, it has provided us with tender green leaves and abundant flower clusters for medicinal teas. In a few weeks, when we walk in the nearby lane, we eat its red berries uncontrollably. However, we will travel to another spot on the prairie where several C. douglassi are growing, already in full bloom, as we prefer black hawthorn berries to keep as food and medicine. Spring leaves and flower clusters of red or black species are used medicinally.
I find hawthorn to be a lovely link to spring, a heart tonic, a connective tissue aid, and a plant steeped in magic. We will consider the magical aspects in the next Alpine Lady music.
Wild Berry Bush Hi Res Stock Photography And Images
Making syrup, like picking its fruit, requires patience and precision. Conscious perception and mental medicine are inherent in appreciating the texture of its magical properties and medicinal virtues.
This recipe was inspired by Dr. John Christopher’s Hawthorn Heart Syrup and Gail Faith Edwards’ Hawthorn Berry Syrup. As a recipe and intuitive cook, I have added a few variables for personal taste that do not detract from the effectiveness of their recipes.
For this recipe, I harvested two cups of fresh black hawthorn (Crataegus douglassi), or berries, which ripen in late summer. The fruit of the common or red hawthorn also makes an excellent syrup, although, as already stated, we are more familiar with the black flavor. After picking, I like to leave the berries in shallow boxes overnight so spiders and other critters can find new homes. Rolling the towels on a towel or blanket removes loose debris. As these berries were recently thoroughly soaked with rainwater, I didn’t wash them, but if they get dusty, that’s a prudent course of action.
Use a pot large enough to hold the berries with an extra two or so inches of headroom. Cover the harvested berries with at least an inch of filtered water, cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. (Do not boil!) Boil continuously for 20 minutes. Remove the hot mixture and set aside for at least 20 minutes, if not longer.
Hawthorn Berries: Identify, Harvest, And Make An Extract |
Strain the liquid brew and return the berries to the pot. Mash them thoroughly and cover with an inch of fresh, filtered water. Repeat the boiling process making sure not to boil the berries as the boiling process destroys some of the medicinal properties. Strain completely, pressing with the back of a large spoon to maximize the amount of infusion.
Add the two strained liquids together and carefully measure and record before placing the brew in the stainless steel pot. I’m sure this process can be done in one pot and hopefully in the next batch.
Now for the real time-consuming part: “A pot of watching never boils!” and “Patience is a virtue” are statements that become fully apparent upon completion, which only add to the quality and flavor of your healthy and invigorating syrup.
Boil the hawthorn infusion slowly to about 1/3 (one third) of its original volume. I started with close to 10 cups of brew and after about four hours it was down to 3 1/4 cups. At the time it was a rich, deep purple brew. To this I added the remaining 1/3 of the liquid to an equal amount of mild flavored honey, which was about 1 cup of honey. I also added some Celtic salt, a lesson from my mom on how to add extra flavors to such recipes.
Manzanita Fruit Photos
When the brew, salt, and honey were thoroughly mixed, I added 1/6 of the initial decoction as Everclear grain alcohol, or approximately 4 ounces or (1/2 cup). I ended up with 36 ounces of the finished product, which we poured into round amber medicine bottles. We keep a four ounce bottle in hand and put the rest in a deep corner of the fridge among the pickles and infused oils of the fridge. Normally, Michael avoids sugary syrups, but this one spoke to him at first taste and has become a part of his morning routine. The dosage is 1-2 teaspoons per day. Harvesting hawthorn berries is new to me this year. They are sweet and mild if you get them at the right time, and in years past I have enjoyed them very early in the fall. This year, Washington hawthorn was sweet and mild in late October. But by then, the single-seeded hawthorn had started to rot, so next year I’ll be looking for it in mid-October.
I owe some credit to Josh Fecteau’s recent post on hawthorn for inspiring me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh points out, there are many species of hawthorn, perhaps 50 in New England. And, according to George Simmonds, in all of North America, probably a thousand species (from his wonderful book Tree Identification: A New Method for Practical Identification and
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