Cook, Gather
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Hawthorn Ketchup

Hawthorn is one of my favourite trees, full of magic, and history.  These ones grow alongside the Rae in South Birmingham, and belonged to a long lost a field boundary.  I have collected hawthorn berries, also known as haws, from these trees for a number of years now but this is the first time I have made haw ketchup.

There are plenty of recipes for hawthorn ketchup found online, some with added spices, and others such as this one by Monica Shaw, are much simpler.

I’ve plumped for this one from allrecipies, which included aromatic spices, such as allspice, cloves and rich sweet dates, and muscavado sugar.


  • 500g hawthorn berries
  • 300ml apple cider vinegar
  • 300ml water
  • 110g pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 280g soft brown muscovado sugar


  • Remove the stalks from the hawthorn berries, and wash.  Drain and dry before popping them in a large pan.
  • Add to the pan the vinegar, water, dates and the spices.  Let simmer over a low heat for an hour.
  • Transfer the mixture to a jelly bag, and let the liquid strain through.  Once cooled and squeeze out any additional juice.  You can also scrape the pulp through a sieve, which adds extra umpfh to the sauce!
  • Add the lemon juice and sugar to the juice and bring to the mixture to the boil. Stir constantly for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer ketchup to sterilised bottles/jars and seal straight away.

I am going to leave my ketchup a few months to let the vinegar mellow.  If I had bottles I would have used them, but jars should be ok – although this sauce is quite runny, I am very happy with my first homemade ketchup!


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