The common hawthorn, or Crataegus monogyna, is planted all over North America as an ornamental tree or shrub. Its bright red berries, also known as “haws,” look like small crabapples and ripen in September and October. You may not know that hawthorn berries are edible and you can make delicious jelly with them.
Hawthorn berries can be enjoyed raw, but their flavor improves when cooked. They can be candied, made into fruit leather, or even a savory ketchup-style sauce. Their high pectin content makes them a great candidate for jams and jellies.
If you have some hawthorn trees growing nearby, try making a small batch of hawthorn jelly. It’s a low-cost and tasty way to preserve the season while adding some variety to your range of jams.
Hawthorn jelly recipe
Makes two half-pint jars
- 2 pounds ripe hawthorn berries
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Pick roughly 2 pounds of ripe hawthorn berries, enough to fill a two-quart container. Watch out for the thorns on the young branches.
- Remove the stems. Wash and drain the berries.
- In a large saucepan, cover the haws with 4 cups of water. Simmer over medium heat for 40 minutes, using a potato masher to break up the fruit.
- Strain through a jelly bag, if you want a clear jelly, or the smallest holes of a food mill. Discard the leftover seeds and pulp. This should produce roughly 2 cups of juice.
- Add the hawthorn juice, white sugar, and lemon juice to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 10 minutes, until it sets.
- Pour the jelly into clean, hot jars, seal the lids, and let cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to one month. For longer storage, the jars can be processed in a water bath for 10 minutes, following typical canning methods for jellies.