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Haw-sin Sauce

October: Preserving Abundance

Hawthorn berries (Crataegus spp.)

In herbal medicine, the hawthorn tree is associated strongly with the heart and blood vessels. Haw berries are said to lower cholesterol levels, they have a non-juicy pulp that is rich in pectin. It's texture is vaguely reminiscent of avocado. Most Irish haws have just one, relatively large seed (Crataegus monogyna). Their seed coat is a little bit bitter and imparts a beautiful pink-red colour to the mushed up pulp.

Haw-sin sauce (adapted from a recipe by Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall)

500g haw berries (berries from a haw thorn tree)

250ml cider vinegar (any fruit vinegar will do)

250ml water

250g sugar

salt and black pepper to taste


Remove most of the stalks from the haw berries, rinse the berries in cold water
Put the berries into a pot with the water and the vinegar, bring to the boil. Simmer for around 30 mins till the skins start to split
Remove from the heat and rub the mixture through a colander to leave the stones behind, use a little additional water to wash as much of the pulp off of the stones as possible
Return the mixture to a clean pan, add the sugar and heat it gently, stirring constantly till the sugar dissolves
Bring to the boil and cook for another 5-10 mins till the sauce reduces and becomes somewhat syrupy
Season with salt and pepper to taste then pour into hot, sterilised bottles
Use where you would use hoi-sin sauce

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