I love this time of year. There is so much out there in the hedgerows to go and pick, provided you know what you looking for and so many lovely, really healthy things you can do with them, if you know how.
Hawthorn is one of those berries that most people seem to have forgotten about. We are always being sold stories about goji berries or acai and all their health benefits, but never about berries that you find closer to home, that have just as amazing benefits. Hawthorn is jam packed full of anti-aging anti-oxidants and is used across Europe to treat early stage heart disease, and has been used to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and has been shown in one study to have the same effect on patients suffering from congenitive heart failure as catropril (a leading medication) if taken every day for two months. But I’ll bet you walk past the trees without ever thinking you can pick and use those berries.
I’ll post my recipe for hawthorn schnapps and hedgerow jam later, but this is a really good syrup to make and to eat. You can take it daily on a spoon for health reasons or you can eat it with everything you would normally eat with syrup. I think it is really good on porridge, but you could also have it on pancakes for example, or in tea. Please check with any doctor though before you decide to use it to treat any heart condition, or if you have any blood pressure issues.
This syrup couldn’t be easier to make, and should be bottled in clean, sterilised bottles and kept in the fridge for up to three months.
Hawthorn Berry Syrup recipe:
The ratios in this recipe are very simple. Basically, for every one cup of hawthorn berries you have, use 3 cups of water.
Put the berries in a pot and bring to the boil with the water. Simmer them for about 15 minutes, and half way through mash them up, using a potato masher.
Strain the resulting liquid through a muslin or jelly bag.
Add one cup of honey (preferably raw) to every cup of hawthorns you use. Stir into the hot juice until it dissolves.
Bottle immediately, label, refrigerate and enjoy. You’ll feel much better pouring that over your pancakes than shop brought stuff.