Tag Archives: Crateagus monogyna

365 Frankendael day 157

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I harvested three tiny prices of that fungus which I found a couple of days ago. I have checked it’s identity in the woods, at home in books, online with reliable sites and as there is nothing nasty I could confuse it with, I felt happy to cook a little. The photograph above is a little washed out but below you’ll see I’ve placed my test harvest against the photo in one of my mushroom books. What a beautiful colour!

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It is Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) and boy does it taste good, simply fried in a little ghee! It does taste quite similar to chicken, it is meaty in texture too. If it sits well in my stomach, I’ll be harvesting some more tomorrow. This isn’t going to turn into a fungus foraging blog, I don’t have enough experience of them and it’s so easy to go disastrously wrong, but if I find more interesting autumn fungi I’ll certainly post them here.

Rosehips (Rosa spp.) continue to ripen.
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As do Haws on the Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) shrubs and trees.

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I got all excited to see thousands of fallen Sweet chestnuts, at the front if Huis Frankendael but they are to small to do anything much with. Hopefully they have been shed to help the tree focus on building up carb’s in the rest.

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It’s still possible to harvest as much as you like of invasive alien Himalayan Balsam. The flowers have a nice taste, quite mild and like lettuce. I heard of someone using the stems as drinking straws recently. That could be interesting too.

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I think these are the sought after roots of Cat‘s Tails, dredged up in the current canal clearance operation. They don’t look very appetising in that must soup though.

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And lastly, Feverfew having a brilliant second flower flush. So bitter and do linked in traditional medicine to the treatment of migraine.

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Danish Hawthorn recipes and simple Haw Honey Syrup

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Some time ago Amalie and Daniel joined me for a herb walk alongside Park Frankendael. One of the plants which was in bloom at the time was Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Amalie knew the berries from Denmark and kindly sent me some recipes to try and share. Hawthorn is in fruit right now, it is a common hedgerow plant and the berries (well “pomes” actually but they look like berries) are edible raw or cooked. Most of each fruit is seed, these need to be strained out of any recipe unless you’d like blunt teeth.

Here are the two recipes from Amalie, plus one I have been experimenting with, which doesn’t need sugar. I also posted a Hawthorn Elixir recipe a short while ago which may be interesting.

Hawthorn puree and juice
1 liter of hawthorn berries
300 grams of sugar
Water

Mash the berries into a puree.
Add the sugar and heat to about 70°C (hot, steamy but not boiling). Strain out the seeds.

The puree can be used for various things including the making of Hawthorn juice, by diluting in water (1 part puree to 10 parts water).

Hawthorn with apples and prunes
½ liter hawthorn berry juice (see above)
750 grams of apples, peeled, cored and quartered
100 grams of prunes, roughly chopped
Sugar (as much as you like to taste)

Cook apples and prunes in the hawthorn juice until the apples turn to pulp and the prunes are swollen, soft and succulent. Then add the sugar to taste. If you like, you can add a bit of melatin with pectin, to thicken it all up.
This can be stored in sterile canning jars or eaten straight away.

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Haw & Honey Syrup
1. Spread your Hawthorn berry (Haws) out in your kitchen for a while to give any bug residents time to relocate. (dry Haws can also be used but they’ll need to simmer for much longer in step 4, to soften them up)
2. Clean your Haws in fresh water.
3. Place them in a small saucepan and almost cover them with just boiled water.
4. Bring to the boil and simmer for just a couple of minutes, to soften everything up a little.
5. Remove from the heat and slow to cool enough to handle.
6. Strain and push out the juice/mush through a standard kitchen sieve. Get out as much as possible. Squidge it with your fingers and a widen spoon. Combine the mush with the water that was used to simmer.
7. When the juice had cooled to being warm but not hot, stir in a nice big dollop of good quality runny honey.
8. Give it all a good stir and chance to combine before storing in a pressure safe glass bottle or jar (like an old flip bung Grolsch bottle).

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Use as a tasty winter tonic, straight or mixed. Hawthorn is best known as a gentle heart tonic, for the emotions and the circulatory system.

365 Frankendael day 11

Here’s a Mayday Hawthorn bough, happily still attached to it’s tree! I’m sure that last Mayday the Hawthorns of Frankendael had opened their flowers by now. They certainly haven’t today and the weather is still not exactly encouraging the plants to grow as they could. None the less Hawthorn looks beautiful at the moment is most trees I see are loaded with green buds, ready to explode into a froth of white/pink blossom. Hawthorn is a spiky, irregularly shaped shrub or small tree which is easy to spot in hedgerows around town. It has unique, small, deeply lobed leaves, a froth of flowers around this time of year and bright red berries come autumn. It is long associated with heart medicine and Mayday country frolics.

Hawthorn is a renowned tonic for the circulatory system. The leaves, berries and flowers can be used to treat angina and several other heart conditions – obviously under the guidance of an experienced medical practitioner as heart disease is always a serious and often life threatening, condition. Hawthorn can be used as a preventative tonic, to guard against future heart problems. It can lower blood pressure, help dissolve cholesterol and calcium deposits.