Autumnal Foraging: Haws & Sloes
Before autumn’s bounty mulches into winter’s depths there are still some final fruits to be foraged.
Walk down lanes and back roads anywhere in the country and you’ll spot the cheery bright red berries of the hawthorn bush, which are known as haws. You’re also likely to come across the purplish black, plum-like fruit of the blackthorn tree. The blackthorn is traditionally used in hedging and its fruit is the sloe.
Haws and sloes are in season now. Country folk know that especially with the sloe, it is better not picked until a¢er the first few good frosts because then the flavour is sweeter and the skin softer.
Both haws and sloes make great jams and jellies though the sloe is perhaps best known for its more boozy reputation as a flavour to gin. As this year of great Britishness draws to a close, why not celebrate your national heritage one more time by trying one or both of these centuries old recipes.