Have you ever heard of dried Hawthorn berries? They look a lot like raisins that are commonly used in various recipes. You can actually use dried Hawthorn berries for a variety of things.
Which makes you can’t help but wonder: “What are they?”, ”What are their uses?”, and how would one use dried Hawthorn berries?” Hold your horses.
We got you covered!
In this article, we’ll be diving into everything you need to know about these berries, from what they are, how they are produced, their uses for health and in the kitchen, and how to consume dried Hawthorn berries and give you other ideas on what you can do with them.
So, without further ado, let’s get right to it.
What are Hawthorn berries, really?
Crataegus monogyna also called common Hawthorn or single-seeded Hawthorn is a species of hawthorn native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world.
Hawthorn berries, also known as haws, are small red berries produced by trees and shrubs in the Crataegus genus, of which there are many species. They are used as herbal remedies for health complaints ranging from digestion problems to heart disease, and some people eat them as food.
How are Hawthorn berries produced?
The berries are produced by trees and shrubs in the Crataegus genus, of which there are many species. One of them is the Crataegus monogyna, which is native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world where it grows wild now.
What are Dried Hawthorn berries used for?
Hawthorn berries are a popular herbal supplement that may have health benefits. However, please keep in mind that it is essential to consult your local healthcare provider before consuming dried Hawthorn berries.
With that being said, here are some of the health benefits that make dried Hawthorn berries a popular herbal supplement.
Natural herbal remedies
They’re used as herbal remedies for health complaints ranging from digestion problems to heart disease, and some people eat them as food.
Hawthorn berries are traditionally used as herbal remedies for health complaints ranging from digestion problems to heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally, so it makes sense that Hawthorn berries would be essential to know about.
Hawthorn berry extract may also help treat:
- High blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain
- Angina (chest pain) caused by heart disease
Note: If this is your first time trying out Hawthorn berries and you have any of the above-listed health conditions, we recommend seeking professional help from your local healthcare provider to better assess your health and determine the best remedy for you (even if it is indeed Hawthorn berry).
Boost your antioxidant levels
Because they’re rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, Hawthorn berries may protect your cells from damage and may help reduce oxidative stress. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that act as a “shield” against free radicals, which can damage cells and cause inflammation. Anthocyanins seem to be especially protective against heart disease and stroke.
Hawthorn berries contain another type of antioxidant called procyanidins that protect the lining of your blood vessels.
It may help improve blood flow and help lower cholesterol levels
Other Hawthorn compounds, known as flavonoids, may improve blood flow and help lower cholesterol levels.
Hawthorn berries and other compounds derived from Hawthorn may also help lower your cholesterol levels. A study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that Hawthorn extract lowered total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Other research has shown that flavonoids derived from Hawthorn may improve blood flow and reduce inflammation, leading to a reduced risk of heart disease. If you have experienced any issues with blood pressure or high cholesterol, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements containing flavonoids.
Make tea or wine
Hawthorn berries can be used to make tea or wine. They have also been prepared in jams, jellies, and spooned sweets. Their bitter flavour is offset by sugar when used in these preparations.
Hawthorn berries can be incorporated into savoury dishes as well as desserts or eaten raw on their own. Though they may often be perceived as remedies, Hawthorn berries can also make a great ingredient to bring out the flavour of your dishes.
Dried Hawthorn berries are also used as a spice in Chinese dishes. It pairs well with other spices and herbs, such as star anise, cinnamon, fennel seed, and cloves. You can use it in meat dishes (beef stew), chicken dishes (chicken curry), or pork dishes (pork roast).
If you like eating duck, try cooking it with dried Hawthorn berries or adding the dried berries to your duck soup base.
Hawthorn berries are also used for food colouring because they contain anthocyanin, which can be extracted from the fruit through boiling or steeping the Hawthorn berries.
So, how do you use dried Hawthorn berries?
How do you use Hawthorn berries? You may ask. Well, here are some ways how to do just that.
Add them to your tea
Hawthorn berries pair nicely with ginger root, cinnamon bark, and cloves. It can be made by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 grams) of dried Hawthorn berries in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes.
You can also make a cold infusion by soaking 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of dried Hawthorn berries in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes before straining and drinking. The recommended dose of Hawthorn berries is about 3 cups per day.
In addition, you can also add them to your smoothies or juices for a sweet flavour boost.
Spice up your soups
Dried Hawthorn berries are often added to soups or stews to add more vitamins and minerals without changing the overall flavour too much.
Eat them fresh
Hawthorn berries are a healthy food that can be eaten fresh in summer or dried for use during the winter months. They have a tangy flavour and are high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which help strengthen blood vessels, capillaries, and connective tissue. The berries are used to treat heart disease and improve circulation.
Fresh Hawthorn berries are best when they are still green before they turn red or brown. They should be harvested while they’re still on the tree, but if you miss that opportunity, you can pick them from the ground after they’ve fallen off.
After harvesting, wash them thoroughly in cold water and then soak them overnight in water mixed with a few drops of lemon juice or ascorbic acid (a form of Vitamin C). You can eat them raw or cook them briefly in boiling water before draining them well and serving them with butter or cream.
Incorporate them into homemade dishes
Hawthorn berries are a great addition to many dishes because of their mildly sweet taste and vibrant colour. You can add them to baked goods such as muffins or scones, as well as soups and stews for an extra boost of nutrients and antioxidants. Also, try using Hawthorn berries in jams or jellies to add a touch of sweetness without all of the added sugar!
Make your own wine
Hawthorn berries are a good source of pectin and potassium. They can be used as an ingredient in jams, jellies, and preserves. They can also be cooked with other fruits to make wine. To use dried Hawthorn berries, follow these steps:
- Place the dried Hawthorn berries in a bowl of water for 24 hours to soften them up.
- Place 1/2 cup of dried Hawthorn berries into a pot with 6 cups of water or juice (such as grape juice). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the liquid is reduced by half and becomes thick like jelly.
- Pour the mixture into sterilised jars and seal with lids or caps to store at room temperature for up to two months or in the refrigerator for up to six months.
The bottom line
Dried Hawthorn berries have a long history of use in food, and the health benefits are still being researched today. This berry is known to be sour, arid, and astringent. In other words, they taste like a mix of grapes and apples.
As such, dried Hawthorn berries are a great addition to any pantry, and since they are natural flavour boosters or enhancers, hence, they can be used in a wide range of recipes in the kitchen, may they be sweet or savoury dishes.
The Hawthorn berry is also known as a medicinal food that promotes health and longevity. These berries, when dried, can be used in the place of raisins or currants, or they can be eaten whole. When you incorporate dried Hawthorn berries into your daily diet, you’ll see the many health benefits they offer.
As always, it is wise to consult a medical professional if you are considering taking Hawthorn berries as an ingredient or as a remedy if you have any health conditions. This way, it helps your doctors determine whether or not hawthorn berries are safe and suitable for your health or not.
We hope you took away a thing or two about Hawthorne berries and how to use them (and we don’t just mean as remedies!), and we hope you can get creative on how to serve them as foods on the dinner table.