With a bumper crop of hawthorn berries this year, I struggled to find something to do with them. I only need to make a heart tincture every two years and I hate to see things go to waste. They are not worth trying to dry either due to the large “pit” inside of the fruit. After some research I found that people do use them for food in lots of interesting recipes, especially if you live in the Great Britain. This chia pudding recipe was inspired by other things I saw on-line that featured bountiful harvests of wild fruit. Other ideas you might experiment with involve jelly, jam, and chutney.
Hawthorn Berry , Dried Cherry and Chia Seed Pudding
- 1/2 cup pure black cherry juice concentrate
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup hawthorn berries cooked and processed to make 1/2 cup of pulp
- 1 tablespoon honey to taste
- 1/2 tsp of almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamon powder
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried or fresh cherries
Combine all ingredients and let sit overnight
- Garnish with fresh strawberries, cherries or raspberries
A note about processing hawthorn berries to get a nice pulp. Boil and then simmer the berries on low heat until they are soft. Remove from heat and then press the berries through a fine mesh sieve with a large wooden spoon. This will remove the 1-3 seeded “pits”. You may need to do small batches and press pretty hard to get all the pulp off of the seeds. This is probably why we don’t find this fruit in many recipes. The flesh is not soft like a wild plum and it has a bland almost sour taste. Don’t bother using a cherry pitter or knife to remove anything either.
Hawthorn is a small tree/shrub (6-20 feet high) that one does not see often where I live. It must be cultivated and cared for to be attractive in an urban setting. The bark is ash colored and the wood quite hard. The leaves are small, shiny, dark green (on top) and have irregularly toothed lobes. Those grow on multiple branches (shooting in all angles) which have small but not terribly sharp thorns. It produces clusters of beautiful, tiny, showy, white flowers (5 petals) in the spring and bright red berries in late summer. The fruit is a favorite with wildlife. If your harvest is not timed right, the perfectly ripe berries can disappear off the tree over night. Ripe berries will be a darker shade of red ,close to that of a bing cherry.
Hawthorn likes to grow along streams and in meadows. You will often find it on older properties like farms, especially as a hedge. It will grow well in most climates.
Crataegus is best known for its effect on the heart. It normalizes blood pressure by regulating heart action/contraction. It strengthens the heart muscle/connective tissues and dilates blood vessels. Hawthorn can be used for either high or low blood pressure. Historically the berries have been used to treat myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, angina, congestive heart failure, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, blood clots, high cholesterol, variscose veins, and Reynaud’s syndrome/poor circulation . A tea of the flowers or leaves may be helpful for stress, mild, pain/spasms, headache, diarrhea, indigestion, gout, altitude sickness, arthritis, joint injuries/slipped discs, tendonitis, hernias, and insomnia.
Contraindications-heart medications, acid reflux.