Posted by: edibleplanet | July 7, 2009

Finding Haws

A couple of months ago when I was driving around, I saw a family collecting berries off a tree on the side of the road. Then under another bush further along there was a big bucket like someone had been collecting there too.

I kept wondering what these berries were and one day while walking past a field that had them right a long the road, I picked some and put them in my pocket. I completely forgot about them until a week or so later when I put my jacket back on again and found shrivelled red lumps in my pocket.

Of course it should have been obvious who might know the answer: good ol’ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (or Hugh Wobbly-Wobbly as he is known at our place ).

Sure enough he had a recipe for a sauce. But I wanted to make sure we had the right thing. I found some around the edge of a park near our house and picked a couple of handfuls as well as leaves and twigs to help with identification.

This site, and this site were the most useful. I decided I did have fruit off a Hawthorn bush and set about cooking the small amount of Haws I had. I used Hugh’s recipe but I did forget to add the black pepper at the end. It was one of the easiest sweet ‘n’ sour sauces I have made. There was a touch of intrepidation as we all tasted it and hoped the identification was right. I was surprised that it had a really nice flavour, more subtle than my usual sweet ‘n’ sour sauce and a pretty red colour as well. The berries are brown when you strain them off and all the colour is in the sauce. Definitely very good for some berries I picked off a bush by the park.

According to the internet, this sauce is a classic old British recipe and there are other yummy things you can make like Haw Jelly so it might be time for another trip to the park.




  1. The orchard has a swag of hawthorne growing there, spread doubtlessly by the birds. I recently made a hawthorne-infused brandy – in about 6 months time, it’ll be ready for separating & a quick taste!

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