Hawthorn is a group of many flowering trees of the species Crataegus. In general, hawthorns produce white flowers in spring and red berries in fall. The hawthorn flower is the state flower of Missouri. Dried hawthorn berries add fragrance to potpourris and also can be used in tea, infusions and extracts. Use only ripe fruit for drying and process them carefully so they store well.
Things You'll Need
- 2 bowls
- Iced water
- Slotted spoon
- Lemon juice
- 2 paper towels
- Drying tray
- Glass or plastic containers
- Dark-colored glass jars with lids
- Hot water
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Sort the berries and discard rotten, moldy and bruised fruit. Wash the hawthorn berries with plain water.
Boil a pot of water and leave it boiling. Fill a bowl with iced water and set it aside.
Dunk the berries in the boiling water for 30 seconds for their skins to crack. Transfer them to the bowl of iced water with a slotted spoon.
Prepare a blend of equal parts of lemon juice and water in a bowl to soak the berries in to preserve them. Move the berries from the bowl of cold water to the one with the lemon juice solution. Use the slotted spoon. Let the berries soak for 10 minutes.
Place the berries on a double layer of paper towels to absorb the water clinging to them.
Lay the hawthorn berries on a drying tray in a single layer. Place the tray in the oven. Heat it to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Open the oven and stir the berries every three hours.
Begin to test for doneness after 20 hours by taking a few hawthorn berries out of the oven. Let them cool. Squeeze them in your hand. If your palm remains dry, the berries are ready for the next step in the drying process. Take them out of the oven to cool.
Place the berries in glass or plastic containers, filling two-thirds of each at the most. Cover the opening loosely and place the jars in a warm, dry place where any residual moisture can evaporate. Shake the containers to separate stuck berries every day for 10 days.
Rinse dark-colored glass jars in very hot water and let them dry. Place the berries in them and close the lid. Store the jars in a dark and cool cupboard, in the refrigerator or in the freezer.