Thursday, April 10, 2014

Look for Hawthorns!

If you live in Middle Tennessee now is the time to scout out Hawthorn trees.  Last fall I came across several trees that produced crab apple like fruit, but it did not quite fit with a crab apple tree.  Thus, I decided to return in the spring and photograph the blooms to help determine the tree.  All three trees turned out to be three different types of Hawthorn. One tree is blooming pink, one is white and the other currently has no blooms but does have some leaves and rather large thorns. Hawthorns can be highly variable with leaves that are simple and toothed or lobed.  These are all located in business parking lots so apparently they are popular to decorate commerce areas.  You can still see some of last year's berries hanging on the limbs (Haws).

Haws are used for teas, syrups and jellies and have been used medicinally for hypertension and a variety of heart disorders. There have also been positive studies showing that this fruit lowers "LDL" bad cholesterol.  There are numerous recipes to try.  You can even use it to make ketchup! The berries are tart, but that often is a benefit in recipes, a balance to sweetness.  The haws that I tasted last year were much like tart crab apples, having the same texture.  I will definitely be experimenting with them this year!  I don't think quantity will be a problem...

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