According to Celtic lore, haw berries make a tremendous remedy for a broken heart. While a little too dry to eat, the berries are one of the key ingredients in hedgerow jelly, and they can be infused in vinegar, or used to make tea and cordial. The young leaves in spring have a delicate flavour and can be chopped and added to salads.

Hawthorn leaves. © Roel Meijer/Getty

I’ve used cider vinegar in this recipe as it’s my favourite kind, but you can also use malt, sherry or red wine vinegars.

Hawthorn vinegar can be used in lots of dressings and sauces; my husband combines it with wholegrain mustard and olive oil and sprinkles it over roasted vegetables and grilled haloumi.

Haws in autumn. © Neil Holmes/Getty


  • 300ml Cider vinegar
  • 1 mug Hawthorn berries


  • STEP 1

    Pour the vinegar into a 500ml bottle and leave the top open. Take your mug of haw berries and use a knife to gently slit each one, before popping them into the bottle with the vinegar.

  • STEP 2

    Keep adding the berries until the vinegar reaches the top of the bottle. If you run out of berries before this point, top it up with a little more vinegar. Leave to infuse at kitchen temperature for 4-6 weeks.

    Hawthorn vinegar. © Tiffany Francis
    Hawthorn vinegar. © Tiffany Francis

Tiffany Francis-Baker is a nature writer and illustrator from the South Downs in Hampshire. She is the author of several non-fiction books, including Dark Skies: A Journey into the Wild Night, a nature memoir about the landscape after dark. In 2019, she was chosen as a Writer-in-Residence for Forestry England to celebrate their centenary year. She has written, edited and illustrated for a number of national publications, including The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, BBC Countryfile, BBC Wildlife and Resurgence & Ecologist, as well as appearing on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4. She is a Custodian for the South Downs National Park and also runs a small business selling her own ethically designed gifts and stationery.

Tiffany Francis-Baker 2

This is a recipe from Food You Can Forage by Tiffany Francis, published Bloomsbury Wildlife.

Food You Can Forage


Tiffany Francis-BakerNature writer and illustrator

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