I’ve been meaning to write up this blog post for a couple of weeks now but just haven’t pulled my finger out and actually got on with it, so here it finally is. A couple of weeks ago I went on the forage again, this time I was on the hunt for Hawberries. Now I,ve noticed locally to me there are a lot of Hawthorn bushes, both on the regular walks I take as well as along some of the lanes that I drive, so I have been keeping my eyes on their fruits waiting for them to ripen nicely for me to harvest. Finally they ripened enough for me to harvest, not too soft but just soft enough that with a little pull they would detach from their connected stems without any damage. After half hour or so I had a nice dog poo bag, every forager should carry a roll of the unscented ones ready for emergency harvesting opportunities, full of the juicy little red berries ready for processing.
Right, so we here go then, this is want you will need to make the sauce. Obviously the first thing you want to do is collect your Hawberries and you want roughly 250g of the little beauties for this recipe, you can make this using more or less berries but just make sure you alter the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly. For your liquids you will need 150ml of apple cider vinegar as well as 150ml of water. Next on the list would be 85g of brown sugar, I used dark brown muscavado sugar as I wanted a nice deep brown colour sauce as well as a rich deep flavour, but any soft brown sugar will do. Next are the spices and I finely chopped up 2 large medium heat red chillies, because I like the taste and wanted a little heat, you don’t really notice any heat to be honest. I also added half a teaspoon, or there abouts, of smoked paprika as well as quarter teaspoon of cumin and then salt and fresh ground black pepper to season.
- First thing to do is to thoroughly wash your berries and then remove any remaining stems and leaves.
- Next bring your water, vinegar and chillis to a gentle boil and then carefully pour in your clean berries and simmer for 15 mins. After this time I squished the berries a little with a potato masher and simmered for a further 15 mins. I believe this helps release the berries flavour better than just boiling alone.
- After roughly 30 mins, more if the berries are still quite firm, pour the liquid and berries into a fine mesh sieve and proceed to push the pulp through the mesh leaving behind the skin and pip stones. I then put everything back on the simmer for a further 5 mins and repeated the sieving process again but this time discarding the skin and pips left behind. You can do this process just the once if you like but I reckon this got the most flavour out of the berries with less waste.
- The next stage is to bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer and add the smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. You can check the taste at this point adding any other seasoning you might like. Leave gently simmering for as long as it takes to reduce the sauce to the consistency you like, it does thicken ever so slightly once cooled so bare that in mind.
- Final stage is to sterilise your jars/bottles and fill them up with the sauce while it’s still hot. I like to wipe the rim, as well as inside the cap, of the jar/bottle with a little white vinegar to help sterilise a little further before capping off.
There you have it Hawberry Sauce. Its tastes like a good quality fruity brown sauce but much better as you’ve made it yourself. I use as a side condiment for various meat dinners as well as spread on my sandwiches with ham and cheese, tis lovely…….