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Autumn is a time for rusty coloured leaves and bright red berries on trees and the hawthorn is an especially good example of this.


Hawthorn trees abound in the British Isles; look for them in scrubland, heaths, hedgerows and any areas of open land. Whenever I am out walking I look out for hawthorn trees and more often than not pick a few small, tender leaves as a flavouring ingredient for my dinner. It’s easy to overlook the leaf, the berries appearance is quite striking but the leaves are quite useful.

To be honest, I tend not to bother with the berries anymore. I picked a bag of them a year or so ago to make an autumnal jelly but upon reflection would chose a number of other fruits above the haw for a more intense flavour.

The leaves are good though, shred them and sauté in some olive oil and butter as for any other spring or wild green. Leave them to wilt in the heat of some boiled new potatoes or fold through a risotto, but I wouldn’t use them as the main ingredient, they’re more of a supporting note for other leading flavours.

Content and picture © Miles Collins