Hawthorn Tea


Above left are the slices off the berries. Top right, the cores. Right, whole berries. Bottom, dried, ugly berries.

I was making some Hawthorn Tea and decided to do a quick post.
Here is what you will find by the hypersensitives on the internet.
First, most of them are more worried about amygdalin, a chemical similar in structure to cyanide, but which is not cyanide. (actually it is a cyanogenic glycoside)
It is found in the hawthorn berry seeds.
I ask myself (because as a hermit I often talk to myself and my dog) how many people have I known that have died from eating apple cores. I have known personally several people who have crunched the whole apple all their lives. And they are very healthy. And I have done it too.
Not to mention Hawthorn berries that myself and millions others have consumed for thousands of years.
So here is my warning.
If you are concerned about a minute amount of amygdalin, or most anything else in wild edible foods, or you panic when a product you buy on Amazon says something about the state of California’s opinion, then maybe you should stay away from all wild foods.

Nature is weird. It combines many things in the foods it provides for living creatures. It is not made up of isolated chemicals in a factory like other processed food. Bits and pieces of many chemicals are in every natural thing you eat. If you saw a chemical analysis of every plant you consume (like the ingredients on processed food)you would never touch the stuff. Well, if you are easily panicked.
A hawthorn berry contains MANY other chemicals that do marvelous things for people. Including (quick search because I don’t want to get in too deep):
“angina, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, cholesterol, irregular heart beat and even congestive heart failure and it is an anti-inflammatory”
So that is my soapbox speech. I do know that most of the people on the internet warning about amygdalin in Hawthorn aren’t really worried about it themselves. They are worried about lawyers and lawsuit happy idiots who are out to steal money from people and not take responsibility for themselves.
On to my tea.
I had noticed that most people online who talk about hawthorn tea seem to have never really made it. Their descriptions are not very accurate. Even for as simple as it is. They say get the berries (not when) and make the tea and enjoy. (that ‘enjoy’ thing must be from some TV cooking show I’ve never seen.  Because people online feel the need to put it at the end of every post. Just like ‘yummy’)  So people get berries and make the tea and it is not wonderful as described.
You can make the tea from the leaves or the berries.
The leaves are healthy but not great as a tea by themselves. Much better mixed with dried flowers.  And even the berries are not that great tasting by if you include the whole berry.  The ripe ‘meaty’ part is best and a bit sweet.
But leaves mixed with flowers do have a hint of rose hip tea and can be quite good.
I use mostly the berries when they are available.  
You can dry them. But they do not dry like other teas you are used to. They dry like the sugar containing fruit that they are. They never really dry completely. They shrivel, get ugly and are still squishy. Like raisins and other dried fruit.
You can also make them whole. Which requires boiling for quite a few minutes to actually get anything out.
I prefer slicing the outside off of them like you are cutting the fruit off the core of an apple. (which you are since they are the same family)
It takes time, which is the blessing we all have but don’t make good use of.
The outside is sweet. Well, sweeter. You need to get it right in it’s “sweet spot”, where it is fully ripe, but not yet shrivelling or rotten. Again, just like how you harvest apples.
So I slice the “meat” off and make tea with it fresh if possible. And steep in boiled water like any tea. But I also dry them for use later.
And as I said, they still don’t taste great. But pretty decent.
I always add some other flavor too. Like today I have added Apple Mint.
The two together are much better than either one by itself.
I also add sassafras, birch bark, and many other foraged plants.

The cut berry pieces in the tea ball infuser. And some Apple Mint.

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