I’m in the mood for Hawthorn jam

Yesterday, for no apparent reason, I was walking the dogs and suddenly had a craving desire to make jam. Why? Probably because everywhere you go at the moment, there are berries and fruits; crab apples, rowans, elderberries, haws, rosehips,  blackberries. Some crops are so heavy they’re actually weighing tree limbs down. It was with this sudden interest that I grabbed a doggy-poop bag from my pocket – yes, they have other uses than the obvious – and began to collect.

At this time of year, hawthorn berries (haws) can be found everywhere.

At this time of year, hawthorn berries (haws) can be found everywhere.

After a quick foray online, I found this extremely simple Hawthorn jam recipe at EatWeeds.co.uk and thus started to collect a few lbs of haws. You’ll need more than you think; it might look a lot, but pop your berries on the scales and you’ll discover you’re wanting. Another small piece of advice; the truly wild species have tiny and sparse berries. If, like me, you’ve had a council plant up hedges near you, look there first. You’ll often find cultivar species developed for colour, size and berry proliferation, making it easier to pick more in a shorter space of time.

Also, Robin’s estimates of quantities is right; for the effort of picking, cleaning, boiling, straining, mixing and then jamming, you’ll still only get about one jar of Hawthorn jam per 1.5lbs of berries. However, if you’re making them as gifts, then the effort shouldn’t put you off. Also, if you’re collecting whilst walking the dogs, then you’re multitasking. Once cleaned and boiled for an hour, you can leave them overnight, and the actual jamming process only takes 30 mins. So, in actual fact, if you’re an OCD multi-tasker like me, you can get a lot done whilst the process is under way.

My hawthorn jellys come out rather well - just look at that colour!

My hawthorn jellys come out rather well – just look at that colour!

I’m delighted to say that the jam came out rather wonderfully. In fact, had you been a fly on the wall, you might have heard me muttering aloud with joy as I taste-tested the plops of bright purple jelly as I did the ‘wrinkle‘ test. I’m currently making up another batch; this time with additional rosehips. The bright red hips need slicing before they’re boiled but because they contain an irritant inside, I just whirred them in a juicer first – it seemed to do the trick!

So, whilst the countryside and, indeed, the city parks, are FULL of berries I urge you; get outside, pick some of nature’s gifts and make some bloody wonderful jams and jelly’s either for yourself or as gifts. And, if you’re not one for traipsing around hedgerows, consider picking up some crab apples from Chris Bowers & Sons; you’ll be able to make quintessential wild goodies from your own garden!

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.