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How to make hawthorn vinegar

The autumn hedgerow is one of the most diverse places to forage small fruits and the hawthorn tree is almost always carrying the heaviest harvest of berries. Writer and naturalist Tiffany Francis shares her recipe for hawthorn vinegar.

Hawthorn vinegar. © Tiffany Francis

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
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.

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Ingredients

  • Cider vinegar 300ml
  • Hawthorn berries 1 mug

Method

  • 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.

    Haws in autumn. © Neil Holmes/Getty
    Haws in autumn. © Neil Holmes/Getty
  • 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 is a writer, naturalist, podcaster and artist, living in the South Downs.

Tiffany Francis

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

Food You Can Forage

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