Hawthorn Shenanigans

Today a student and I went out picking hawthorn berries with the intent of making a spicy hawthorn berry ketchup with the resulting harvest. After a good hour of picking, we had finally got together enough berries to make the recipe possible and headed back to the kitchen – fairly slowly, as it has suddenly gone warm here again. Between us, we built on an existing recipe and came up with the following concoction:

Hawthorn berries
Hawthorn berries

 Sweet and Spicy Hawthorn Ketchup


1kg hawthorn berries, washed and destalked (you don’t need to be too obsessive about this – as long as you are fairly careful not to get too many stalks while you are picking, you should be ok with a few left in)

600mls vinegar – we used 500mls red wine vinegar and 100ml malt vinegar

400mls water

270g organic raw cane sugar

a sprinkle of pink salt

a sprinkle of cinnamon

a good shake of black pepper

½ tsp medium curry powder

a sprig of dried rosemary

½ tsp garlic granules

This was very easy indeed to make – put the berries into the pan with the water and bring to a simmer. Add the vinegar and rosemary and simmer a bit more, then mash thoroughly. Add the sugar, simmer for another half hour, then bring to a boil for five minutes before turning off. Push the whole lot through a sieve and then put the resulting liquid back onto the heat. Add the salt and spices to taste, bring back to the boil for a few minutes, then bottle. This did not gain us a huge amount of ketchup – enough for one bottle each, so the recipe yielded about 600mls all in all, so yes, rather labour intensive, but very tasty indeed, and there is something very peaceful about picking hawthorn berries – a job that I will welcome on cooler days.

No idea how long this ketchup will keep, but its so moreish that I suspect it won’t stay in the bottle for long!!

Happy foraging, everyone, and Mabon blessings!


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