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How to make Hawthorn Ketchup with Foraged by Fern

There’s nothing better than finding the local flavour when you explore a new region, visiting the local pubs and eateries, hitting the farmers markets, or popping into local distilleries. But if you really want to connect with nature and your surroundings – forage the local wild for its bounty!

We hung out with Fern Freud of Foraged by Fern, forager and wild wanderer based in Sussex. An avid outdoorsperson, she wild swims, canoes, hikes and most importantly, has an in-depth knowledge of the wild around her – finding snacks in hedgerows, meadows and even underwater – everywhere she goes. Fern showed us how simple it was to make hawthorn ketchup for an incredible sauce you won’t be finding in the shops.

So, what IS Hawthorn?

Found on the Hawthorn Tree, Hawthorn berries, known as ‘haws’ – are fairly easy to spot with their bright red colour and abundant coverage of the Hawthorn tree. You’ve very likely seen them before and wandered straight past, not knowing their versatility. The young leaves, flower buds and young flowers are all edible as well and can be added to salads. Whilst the haws can be eaten raw, they can cause mild stomach upset, so the best way to use them is to make jam, wine (oh boy, don’t tempt us) or best of all… ketchup.

How to make Hawthorn Ketchup


  • 600g hawthorn
  • 300ml apple cider vinegar
  • 400ml water
  • 200g sugar


  1. Start by de-stemming the haws and throwing away any that look brown or mouldy. Once they’re ready to go, throw them all in a pan, and cover them with a good apple cider vinegar (cheap ones won’t taste as good!).
  2. Bring the mix to the boil, and when the fruit starts to get a little softer, you can mash them down with the back of a fork.
  3. Once the fruit’s a pulp consistency, and all the fruit has come away from the stones, put it into a sieve with a bowl underneath to catch the juices. Press the pulpy material into the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. What comes through the sieve should look like a tomato puree!
  4. If it’s a little thin or runny, put it back in the pan to boil off some of the water, until it’s a thicker more ketchup like consistency.
  5. Then add the sugar, some spices of your choice – cinnamon or allspice, or chili if you prefer. Give it a stir, and it’s ready to go!
  6. Bottle the ketchup up, and it’ll be good for three weeks in the fridge!

Filmed at The Buzzardry treehouse in Sussex