I remember my grandfather taking me for long countryside walks as a child, roaming over pastures and hillside. Whilst I was simply admiring the view, I think back and I am sure my grandfather must have had other ideas, he was probably checking on the livestock and perhaps even foraging.
On such a trip I recall my grandfather would eat the fresh vivd green tips from the hawthorn trees annual cut into hedges that marked the bounder of his smallholding.
Hawthorn leaves have a sweet flavour with a slightly bitter aftertaste and in my grandfathers day would have been commonly referred to used as ‘bread and cheese,’ as the leaves sandwiched between slices of bread were once a staple food in the spring.
The leaves can also be added to salads, stepped into hot water to make a tea or enjoyed (like me) straight off the branch, while the roasted seeds make a good coffee substitute.
The Hawthorn berries, however bountiful in most autumn’s, make a tasty jam or fruit bread – try adding the dried and ground fruit to flour for a fruity loaf.
Hawthorn also has medicinal benefits and can help treat heart and circulation disorders.
Powerful bio-flavinoids present in the fruit stimulate the flow of blood to your heart keeping the heartbeat regular.
Hawthorn berries are most autumns but always leave plenty behind for the birds and never damage the tree branches.
I like to add a few hawthorn berries to my rose hip syrup, a nutrient rich tonic, that will help fight of sneezes and flu and help growing children develop a strong resistance to summer colds.