A Short Foraging Interlude

Last weekend I became a forager, this weekend I quit.

It started at 11am this morning in the pouring rain, we’d just had to vacate our lovely weekend Yurt and the warm safety of the wood burning stove. All for the sake of a haw, or two.

Having shredded our hands on blackthorn and rosehip bushes we returned only slightly damp and deflated, with a bag of hedgerow berries. Now all we had to do was trim them of stalks and rustle up a bottle of ketchup.

It started well enough but 45 minutes in, the bowl was not getting any emptier, I’d reached the point where I couldn’t give a flying wotsit about hawthorn ketchup and Lynn was glaring at me and burping. Apparently the stress of it all had brought on her indigestion.

Having boiled the trimmed berries up in my lovely stock pot I got to while away another hour or so squishing fruity vinegar juice through a colander and then a sieve. I have purple pulp from one end of the kitchen to another and Lynn will get indigestion again when she spots it.

I now have two bottles of ketchup and a lovely book on hedgerow preserves that I will probably never use again – life is too short!

It is a marvellous book actually and here’s the recipe I used for the Hawthorn Ketchup, I had to double up on quantities as Ihad 1.2kg or berries:

Hawthorne Ketchup

  • Servings: 2 bottles
  • Time: 3 hrs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 500g trimmed Haws
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 300ml water
  • 175g sugar
  • salt and pepper


Boil the haws up with the vinegar and water for about 30 mins, so that the berries go brown and soft.
Allow to cool for a while and then push the pulp through a colander or sieve to remove the stones and skin.

With the juice and pulp back in the pan, add the sugar and heat til it has dissolved. Cook for a further 5 mins, seasoning with salt and pepper. I also added finely chopped chillis at this point and then bottled up.

I just need to work on my labeling now.

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