Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide

Hawthorn Berry Ketchup

It's time to share this simple recipe. You'll be amazed how much it tastes like ketchup! I always think it is best to make together, as it takes some effort, though is worth it in the end. Here I share the basic recipe for turning haw berries into ketchup with no tomatoes in sight, then as you scroll down I share a little more about the details of making this great relish and dip.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyana) is a common tree found in hedgerows and woodland, and it fruits best in full sun. There is lots I can tell you about Hawthorn, though here I am focusing on a single recipe. If you want more, here's my recipe for Hawthorn Berry Fruit Leather or join me on an autumnal wild food foraging course.

Crataegus monogyna made into a relish


Hawthorn Berry Ketchup Recipe


(Makes approx. 280ml)

250g haw berries

150ml cider vinegar

150ml water

85g soft brown sugar

couple of pinches of sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Strip the berries from their stalks and wash them. Put into a pan with the vinegar and water, cook over a gentle heat for 30 minutes. Press the pulp through a sieve and return both the pulp and the liquid to the pan with sugar and seasonings. Boil for 10 minutes. Bottle and seal. Great with bangers and mash, dip chips into it, have with meats, bread sticks or invent new ways to enjoy it.


A  little more about the process...

When I first made this ketchup it was a communal affair; we were three people de-stalking the berries and plopping them in the pan before we weighed and simmered them. That takes a little time in itself. Next comes the mashing - we took it in turns to energetically mash the fruits through a sieve, knowing that the more we mashed, the thicker the ketchup would be. Thick ketchup was good, we agreed, so 20 minutes rather than 10 minutes, or even 30 minutes felt worth it.

Mashing the berries of Crataegus monogyna to make hawthorn berry ketchup Showing the effort - haw fruit pulp being pushed through a sieve

Every time we needed to take a break from mashing, we'd scrape the oozing haw fruit pulp through the sieve and into the bowl, along with the juices.

Crataegus monogyna pulp and juice for making hawthorn berry ketchup

Here's the resulting, thick juice and pulp before adding sugar (you'll now realise how much sugar is in ketchup!), and salt and pepper and simmering for a final 10 minutes before bottling or storing in a jar. Look at that wonderful colour. This really is a great dip, full of goodness and wild vitality and keeps well for months in the fridge.

Crataegus monogyna

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