For the second time in a year, following Bread and Cheese in May, hawthorne trees and hedges have a spectacular effect on the Cheshire countryside. With the approaching onset of autumn, they are now covered in a profusion of innumerable red berries, haws.
I vividly remember from childhood being shown ‘hips and haws’ in the hedgerows, one of those things that really sticks in the memory. Such experiences do help to give children an appreciation of the natural world.
Hips are of course rose hips, from various varieties of wild rose or dog rose – not quite as plentifully available as haws, but there are still a lot about.
Of course, there are many other red berries about at the moment, including rowan, pyracantha, cotoneaster, guelder rose (a sort of viburnum), holly, honeysuckle, yew,… See e.g. this identification guide to berries, produced by the British Trust for Ornithology.
It would appear that both hips and haws are edible, although not as easily convertible into tasty preserves as, say, blackberries. You can find recipes such as ‘rose hip chutney’ and ‘hawthorne berry ketchup’ on the web. But do be aware that not all red berries are edible.
Photographs taken at Anderton Country Park, Northwich