Hawthorn Ketchup

The flesh of the Hawthorn berry, or Haw, has exceptionally high levels of pectin, making it a great asset to the jam making enthusiast and excellent for setting fruit leathers. However, one of the nicest ways to use Hawthorn is to create a delicious savoury ketchup.

The beautiful red berries of Hawthorn adorn autumn hedgerows
The beautiful red berries of Hawthorn adorn autumn hedgerows

Autumn is a time of abundance for foragers, and one of the most common sights in the hedgerows at this time of year are the red berries, or haws, of the Hawthorn. If you are going to harvest these, wear heavy duty gloves as those thorns are vicious!

The seeds within the haws, like those of many other fruits, contain a cyanide inducing chemical, so it’s only the flesh we’ll be using. The best way to process is to heat the berries in just enough water to cover them, then remove from the heat when the skins are well split, and then mash through a sieve.

Recipe ingredients

500g haw berries

300ml water

300ml cider or white wine vinegar

175g sugar


Black pepper


1. Remove the leaves and stalks from haw berries and rinse

2. Put the haw berries, water and vinegar into a large pan. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. The skins on the berries should split