This past weekend brought a day of perfect Autumnal sunshine on Sunday. It was such a change from the wet and windy weather we’ve been having that I was out of the house like a shot clutching my camera and wandering the lanes.
The golds of Autumn were everywhere, but what kept catching my eye were the cheery red Hawthorn berries dotting the hedgerow like little rubies glinting in the sun.
Haws aren’t the sort of berry you can graze on as you walk the lanes. You’d rather choke on their rock hard innards and bitter taste. However gather these little gems and take them home for cooking and you have a treat in store.
Needless to say I had left the house unarmed with any sort of bag for collecting. I couldn’t miss this chance to make the most of the bounty so made use of the pouch pocket in the front of my less than glamorous sweatshirt. I plucked and picked my way along the lanes and headed home with an outline not unlike that of a mothering kangaroo.
On emptying my pouch I found I had 500g of haw berry goodness. Now what could I do with them?
I immediately thought of chutney but dismissed this one as I’d used up all the dried fruit the other day and hadn’t replaced it yet. How about just almost making chutney and having it as a Hawthorn Berry Sauce instead. A spicy sauce, something deep and fruity and rich – a bit like HP sauce in fact. For non UK residents HP sauce is a spicey and fruity brown sauce, a bit like a chutney ketchup really.
I was determined right there and then to try to make my own version of HP sauce using hawthorn berries as my base. Come on, doesn’t everyone do this on a Sunday afternoon?
How to make your own Hawthorn Berry Sauce;
It was a case of boiling up 300ml cider vinegar and the same amount of water with my haws until they were tender, this took me about 35 minutes.
Then I pressed them through my trusty old Muolie grinder (a sieve and wooden spoon would do but I do like playing with my old kitchen toys now and then) and returned the pulp to the pan and added in 175g of light brown sugar and the following spices; 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, ground ginger and grated nutmeg. Also a pinch each of ground cloves, ground allspice berries and black pepper.
I brought it slowly back to the boil letting the sugar dissolve completely first and then boiled for about 5 minutes.
This just made enough for one 350ml bottle of ketchup but boy was it worth it. I love to have HP sauce on a bacon roll or with corned beef or meatloaf. Yesterday (a bit of a grim day for me really) called for a major cheer up so I treated myself to a fabulous tartine topped with salad and corned beef and of course my HB (hawthorn berry) Sauce.
Amazing! Hawthorn berry sauce is spicy, fruity and fabulous, just like good old HP sauce.
So if you are out a wandering in the countryside try this with those haw berries you can so easily pop in your pockets.
How To Make Natural H.P. Type Sauce
- 500 g/1lb 2oz hawthorn berries
- 300 ml/1/2 pint apple cider vinegar
- 300 ml/1/2 pint water
- 175 g/6oz light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp each of salt ground ginger and grated nutmeg
- pinch each of ground cloves allspice and black pepper
- Cook the hawthorn berries in the vinegar and water at a simmer for approx 35 minutes until tender.
- Press through a sieve with wooden spoon or use a veggie grinder.
- Return the pulp to the pan and add all other ingredients.
- Warm to dissolve sugar and then boil for 5 minutes.
- Pour into a sterilised bottle.
- Store in the fridge once opened.