I have been having the best fun this year, expanding my foraging repertoire, with my most knowlegeable friend Vicky, of The Little Foragers Kitchen! In fact we have been running some joint outdoor workshops, at Cadder Wharf, among the trees, enjoying the fresh air and learning all about natures amazing healing plants and how to use them in delicious and creative ways!
So hawthorn ketchup is new to me, and my first attempt wasn't a great success! I had picked the berries when they weren't quite ripe enough, so took ages to break down and by the time I had blended and sieved it, there was hardly anything left!
So not to be deterred I left it a few weeks, until the haw berries were much riper, and this time it turned out great! So the motto is, If at first you don't suceed, try, try and try again!!
Also Practice makes perfect!!
So now I can share my recipe, and the good news is you can harvest haw berries throughout October, they are perfect for harvesting now.
You can freeze the berries in 500g amounts, so you can make this delicious ketchup whenever you want.
I have a stash of rosehips, elderberries, brambles, haw berries and sloe berries in the freezer to use throughout the year.
So hawthorn is a wonderful plant, classed as an adaptagen, which supports the heart and circulation. The flowers and leaves are also edible, as well as the lovely berries in the autumn.
Always be 100% sure of correct identification when you are collecting any wild berries, there are similar ones which are not edible and can make you rather ill. Look at the leaf shape as well as the berries, there are many plant apps which you can use to identify plants correctly.
So onto the recipe, you can vary the flavour of the ketchup by adding different spices, chilli flakes, and garlic, or go down the warming spice route with allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, for a deliciously fruity, rich and intense ketchup, which is what I chose!
This ketchup is delicious served with veggie burgers, veggie sausages, stirred into casseroles, blended with chickpeas and tahini for a delicious dip or mixed with natural yoghurt to serve with falafel.
It tastes almost like HP sauce but a much healthier version!
So here is the recipe
Ingredients- makes around 350mls ketchup
1. Remove all the stalks from the haw berries and give them a wash.
2. Put the berries in a pan with the apple cider vinegar and water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook until
the berries start to soften and split. This can take from 30 minutes to nearer an hour if your berries are hard.
You may need to top it up with hot water
3. Push the mixture through a sieve to remove all the stones and skins. Use a wooden spoon to really push it through. If your mixture looks dry then add extra boiling water and give it a good mix before you sieve it. You need around 300 to 350 mls.
4. Return the pulp to a clean pan and add the sugar, spices, salt and pepper.
5. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, and then simmer gently for around 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6. Transfer to a sterilised jar or bottle.*
To sterilise your bottle, wash it in hot soapy water, rinse it well then put in the oven at 140 C for around 15 minutes.
Alternatively put your bottles and jars through a hot cycle in the dishwasher.
🍃 Health educator🍃