I was always told as a child that all red berries were poisonous.. Potentially a life saving lesson for a very curious child who was always in the outdoors. However, I think this lesson may have been the trigger for me to learn about Wild Food and now I know that the Hawthorn or Haw berry is actually very edible indeed it pairs brilliantly with meat and cheeses, especially in the form of a chutney!
½ Tsp Ground Allspice berries
2 Tsp Maldon Salt
Small Handful of Thyme
Firstly we need to separate those Haw fruits from their stalks, you’ll need to spend a little time making sure that the stalk is removed from each berry. When completed give them a good wash and then place in a large saucepan. Now add the Cider Vinegar and Salt to the pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, we will need to cook the Haw berries for one hour to really cook them and release all of those fantastic and complex flavours. Once the mix has cooked for one hour you will need to pass it through a metal sieve. We want to keep only the preserve that passes through the sieve, so using the back of a spoon rub the mix into a clean saucepan ready for another volley of cooking.
The remaining mix would have dramatically reduced and there should be 2 pints of pulp ready for the next stage.
Remove the leaves off of your Thyme whilst reserving four whole sprigs (pick young sprigs to be reserved). Lightly chop your plucked leaves.
In the new saucepan containing the Hawthorn berry pulp now add the spices, sugar and a really generous grinding of Black Pepper and cook for 10 minutes. One minute before the Hawthorn berry chutney is ready add and stir in the Thyme leaves.
Now simply decant the Hawthorn berry chutney into the sterilised jars carefully placing a sprig off Thyme in each (watch those fingers, the chutney is hot!). Do up the lids and allow too mature for at least one month (it will last ages)!
Enjoy with hot and cold meats and ripe strong flavoured chesses!
Wild Food Recipes