Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Picking Haws For Haw Jelly

This shrub had vibrant tasting haws. Note the tiny apple-like fruit and impressive thorns.

We have two beautiful hawthorn trees in our backyard.  One has yellow haws and the other has red haws.  The yellow haw tree didn't produce at all this year while the red haw tree is loaded.  I finally got a chance to pick some haws for jelly yesterday.  

Be careful when picking haws because the trees have nasty thorns!


The haws from the hawthorn tree are known for their great effects on the circulatory system and the heart.   The hawthorn tree has a wonderful tradition of folklore and beliefs surrounding it.  Not surprisingly, the cruelly thorned hawthorn branches were thought to be used to make Christ's crown of thorns.  Bushman Fitness writes about the hawthorne's historical and medicinal background on his blog page Hawthorne: Blood-Control HQ.  

Recipes for haw jelly are not plentiful.  I found this one from Stalking the Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons.

Here is Euell Gibbon’s Recipe for Hawthorn Jelly:

To make Haw Jelly, crush 3 pounds of the fruit, add 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil, cover the kettle and let it simmer for 10 minutes, then strain the juice through a jelly bag and discard the spent pulp, seeds, and skins. If red haws are not too ripe, they will furnish ample pectin for jelly making, but if they are very ripe, add 1 package powdered pectin to the strained juice. We felt our juice could stand more acid, so we added the juice of 2 lemons. We put just 4 cups of this juice in a very large saucepan and brought it to a boil, then added 7 cups of sugar and very soon after it came to a boil again, it showed a perfect jelly test.

That's a lot of sugar.   But I've read that the jelly won't set if less sugar is used.  I'll make the jelly today and let you know the results! 


  1. I'm always learning by visiting blogs! I did not know you could eat hawthorn berries! :)

  2. I'm not sure how they were eaten in ancient times, but I've read that the seeds can be poisonous. So I'm making a jelly and straining out the seeds.