Hawthorn Jelly Recipe


This is a lovely, simple hawthorn jelly recipe that you can have with cheese or meats. Make it now and you’ll be in time for giving it away as Christmas presents.

If your celebrating is more earth-centric, then you’ll be in time for the return of the sun on December 21st.

Enjoy this autumnal hawthorn jelly recipe.

Hawthorn Jelly Recipe Instructions

Step 1

Find a nice Hawthorn bush (Crataegus monogyna) laden with lovely red haws.

Step 2

Pick 1.5lbs of hawthorn berries (haws). This will make 1 jar of hawthorn jelly, so obviously if you need more jars, pick more fruit.

Make sure that you remove the stalks. A good way is to simply roll a clump of berries (stalks and all) in between your hands, and you’ll find the haws just roll off. It’s certainly easier than individually pulling off each stalk.

Step 3

Now wash your haws and then drain.

Step 4

Put the haws into a heavy saucepan, and cover with 1.5 pints of water.

Step 5

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Step 6

Now strain the mixture over night using some muslin, or as I did, a jelly bag.

To keep the jelly clear do not squeeze the jelly bag, just let the juice drip. If you’re not bothered whether your hawthorn jelly is clear or not then squeeze away.

Step 7

For every 1 pint of juice measure out 1lb of sugar.

Step 8

Now squeeze the juice of 1 lemon.

Step 9

Mix the sugar and lemon juice into a heavy saucepan along with the hawthorn juice. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved.

Now rapid boil for 10 minutes until …

Step 10

… the jelly  has reached setting point.

Step 11

Now skim off any foam from the top of the jelly liquid, and pour into sterilised, warm jars and screw on the lids.

Eat at will. There is no need to leave the hawthorn jelly for a month or so.


  1. Mr.Hartford- Ive used this Jelly recipe twice now.Thank you.I have a short walk here in Oregon to gather red haws.But have 7 Western Black Hawthornes behind my house.My woman is an herbalist and informed me of the benefits of this tree.We have just harvested 5 lbs that are on the dryer.Tea,syrup and jelly.We would love some advise about the leaves,bark if you have a moment.Thank you again- Byron Arnold

  2. I have been making jelly for years. Purchased a juicer/steamer (you can get them at Fleet farm store) and it takes all the work out of the juicing process. The juice can be capped and stored straight from the steamer for jelly making whenever you have the time. !

  3. Any tips on de-kerneling the hawthornes if you want to keep the fruit pulp? I have been trying different methods but no success, either the force is too strong (like a meat grinder), so it cracks the kernels as well as pushing out the fruit pulp, or to weak like trying to push the fruits against a sieve… I want to use all of the fruit minus the kernel for smoothies etc.

  4. I lived in Windsor, Ont. until 1947. In our neighbourhood
    some people had Hawthorne trees. A few people guarded them vigorously. Thank you, the haws were for their jelly.!

  5. I made hawthorn jelly some years ago. It was delicious with a slight tartness and I’m told hawthorn is good for the heart.
    I admit to finding it a tad tedious to prepare though.

    Sadly my local council decided to cut just about every bush and briar, depriving both the birds and myself of hawthorn, elderberry, rosehips and blackberries.

  6. I am so delighted to see this article. In case you haven’t seen it, there is a wonderful book by Bill Vaughn titled Hawthorn: The Tree That Has Nourished, Healed, and Inspired Through the Ages. It was a hawthorn tree that got me into perennials and wild foods in the first place. My name (Hagens) means, in German, “hawthorn hedge.” The haws, in German, are called “hags” and the healing witch in the olden days got her name from this heart-nourishing tree. I love the jelly recipe. Will add lemon next time I make it. Happy holiday.

  7. PS I forgot to say that here in Maine (northeast coast of USA), the haws literally drop off the tree unbruised and sweet on the day that they taste best. If I pick them, they are less so. We used to be able to go out and gather them predictably on October 15. This year, they were still on the tree late in November.

  8. I pour my Haw Jelly into ice cube trays and set it in the fridge. Just pop a cube out for an after dinner treat and to calm the heart before bed.
    Thanks again Robin. Stella

  9. Hello – Looking for some advice. I tried to make the jelly but it didn’t turn out and I’m not sure where I went wrong. I put the haws in the pan of water and simmered away. The pulp looked like chilli con carnie and when I allowed it to strain I did not get much juice after a night and it was brown in colour and the sweet smell it produced under heat and gone, smelling slightly pungent. The haws were ripe, but I wonder if they were too old? Any tips?
    Thank you

    • Vectiswanderer – I have no idea why it didn’t work for you. Wild cultured plants are not monocultured plants and each plant community can have radically different properties, and that’s not including habitat, age of the haws etc. I tired again.

    • Veetiswanderer – It may be they simmered too long. I only know “mayhaw” jelly recipes from my region, but the fruit is very similar. Traditional recipes here say be careful only to simmer haws long enough to soften the fruit, 10-15 minutes— or else the flavor starts to dissipate very appreciably.

      We drain the juice slowly and press the pulp too, straining everything a final time before adding sugar and cooking to jell. This final cooking should also be as brief as possible, 10-15 min.

      Robin, I don’t know if you’ve tried it this way, but the “grandmother consensus” where I’m from is so strong i wouldn’t dare to try cooking them any longer. 🙂

  10. I’d like to do a combination of Hawthorn and Rosehips. Would it work to cook both fruits together or would there be a reason to process separately and combine the strained juices?

  11. I’m just beginning my foraging journey and like you Robin, feel like – ‘oh my goodness why do I not know about the abundance of nature’s larder?’ It seems so obvious.
    A wonderful book ‘Wildwood Legacy’ what our native trees did for us by Martyn Baguely.
    I prepared mine with my 3 children – & we also had the absolute delight of meeting a stick caterpillar – a little reward!

  12. Thanks, a really good and tasty recipe. Could probably have worked it out, as it’s a standard “jam”, but it’s always good to have a “test pilot” on a new ingredient.
    As an aside, why is the only post not receiving a reply the one from ‘vectiswanderer’ who had a problem with the recipe? I really hope that this isn’t one of that sort of site.

    • Chas – Thanks for pointing out my lack of response to vectis. My site get’s tens of thousands of visitors each month, I have over 16000 people on my newsletter… so… messages can get lost in the mix, and that’s not taking into account the communications nightmare that is social media 😉

  13. I made this jelly for some years now, but sometimes the jelly “separates” after almost a year on the shelve.
    The sugar turns into hard rock candy-like crystals in the bottom of the container with the rest of it filled with a semi-liquid ruby-red substance. It’s not gone off in any way. And I have kept the jam jars refrigerated.
    What have I done wrong?

    • You need to make sure the sugar has completely disolved before boiling the mixture. When sugar is boiled before properly being dissolved, it rechrystalises, and the rest of the jam separates. I made this mistake once with some beautiful pears. Then I read about this tip, probably from Delia Smith, and have never had a problem since.

  14. Clare – Only if you are 100% certain you have the correct plant. yes, the leaves are eaten raw in Spring when they are just emerging as shoots. And the berries can be nibbled straight from the tree, but do not eat the seed!

  15. Hello Robin –
    Please could you explain Why we need to remove the stalks before making the jelly?
    Is the bark bad for us in any way?
    If not – can I leave the stalks on and sieve them out?

  16. Hi Robin,
    I read on one of your other hawthorn recipes (ketchup I think) that it shouldn’t be eaten while breast feeding. I don’t read that here, am i safe eating this jelly on my toast like I am absolutely dying to try ? Or do I have to wait ?

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