Hawthorn Berry Ketchup Recipe
Hawthorn berries make a deliciously rich, tangy and fruity dark red ketchup which tastes superb with meats (wonderful with nut roast too!), stir-fries, salads, and simply scrumptious with Welsh rarebit.
Although many of us are familiar with blackberry picking, using them freshly picked or baked into pies and crumbles, hawthorn berries are usually overlooked, despite being wonderfully abundant in our hedgerows and countryside.
Hawthorn berries may not be especially tempting when raw it when they’re cooked that the magic really begins to happen! In fact, they can be used to create delicious jellies, wines, relishes, preserves, chutneys, and my favourite: a fabulous ketchup for which I’ll share a recipe below.
Hawthorn berries are bursting with B-vitamins, folic acid, Vitamin C, and antioxidants as well as containing beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. Good for the heart, many studies have shown hawthorn’s ability to make arteries more pliable and even repair damaged vessel walls.
To make hawthorn berry ketchup you’ll need to first gather up around 500g of berries. Easily picked, just watch out for the thorns that dot the branches!
500g Hawthorn berries
300ml Apple Cider
150ml Light brown sugar
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
1. Remove stalks and leaves from the hawthorn berries and wash them thoroughly.
2. Put the berries in a large saucepan with the water and apple cider vinegar, bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the berries are soft. The skins will split and turn a dull brown in colour.
3. Using a wooden spoon or ladle push the softened berries through a sieve into a bowl making sure you push all the juice out of them, leaving the skin and pips behind. What you have in the bowl should look like a puree.
4. Return to the pan, add the sugar and seasoning and simmer for another 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Stir frequently and remove from heat once the ketchup has thickened to your preferred consistency. (Remember the sauce will continue to thicken once cooled.)
5. Allow to cool and then pour into sealed sterilised jars or bottles. Refrigerate and use within 12 months.
Experiment with other seasonings and spices such as cayenne pepper, cloves, ground ginger, garlic, nutmeg, allspice, dates (chopped and pitted) and cardamom. Herbs such as coriander, or a simply a pinch of mixed herbs work wonderfully well. Adding half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper for instance lends the sauce a delicious warming kick.