Hedgerow Harvest: Hawthorn Ketchup

Hedgerow Harvest: Hawthorn Ketchup

I’ll admit, wandering along the towpath carrying a chair is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. However, it was the only way I could reach the crimson haws dangling over the hedgerow. I’m fairly sure once you give some homemade hawthorn ketchup a try, you too could be convinced to go to some unique lengths to gather the ripe berries.

This time of year is spectacular. The trees are in their full colour with their leaves creating dramatic displays of sunny yellows, chestnut browns and vibrant reds. The hedgerows also undergo their own transformation. With more of their skeletal twigs being shown, the autumn fruits become even more vivid. It’s the season of sloes, crab apples, rosehips and, of course, the hawthorn.

If you enjoy this recipe, check out some more of our cosy autumn ideas ⤵️

The cosiest Veggie Shepherd’s Pie recipe
Shepherd’s Pie. Even the name’s as wholesome as the dish. This vegan-friendly version is packed full of nutritious seasonal veg and is the perfect cosy food on an autumn evening.

Hawthorn ketchup has been on my list of makes to try out for a while. There are some brilliant recipes from Great British Chefs and, of course, River Cottage which has had me eyeing the berries for the last few months, impatiently waiting for them to be ready for picking. It’s a really simple recipe to knock up and takes the flavouring of various spices well. I’d say the taste is more akin to a plum sauce, with the use of star anise and the other aromatics.

As ever, if you give it a try please do share and tag us via insta – we’re @thistiny.life


  • Haws aren’t poisonous but their seeds are. Sieve before reducing to make sure none make it into the final ketchup
  • Pick plenty of berries and let them sit for 30 minutes or so before washing. Any insects should have carried themselves off by then, You don’t want a fly in your condiment.
  • This makes around 1x 300ml bottle.


  • 500g of Haws. Separated as best as possible from stems and any twigs that made it into the foraging trug.
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 300ml water
  • 170g sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 or 2 whole star anise
  • 3 or 4 cloves
  • Plenty of black pepper
  • A couple of juniper berries if you have a few knocking about


  • Rinse the berries and add to a pan along with all the ingredients apart from the sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the skins begin to soften and split
  • Take off the heat and rub the mixture through a sieve into a clean pan. This is to separate the fruit from the pips. Really work it through the sieve to make sure no good stuff is wasted
  • Put the mixture back on the heat and add the sugar. Gently heat to dissolve the sugar then boil for around 5 minutes until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Pop into a clean, sterilised bottle and let sit for a couple of days before trying.
Jack Miles
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