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Hawthorn apples, are small round fruits that appear more like berries than apples, but are technically pomes, as are apples and pears. The fruits can be red, green, yellow, dark purple, or black. The skin is thin and covers a fleshy pulp, with seeds in the middle that often stick together and seem more like a pit. Generally, the fruits are incredibly tart and astringent. Hawthorne apples grow on trees of various shapes—some can grow up to 30 feet tall. Many appear more as a shrub, with thorny branches. Thorns can grow up to four inches long. The flowers often do not smell good, although they look like sweeter-smelling crab apple flowers. When the fruits appear in the fall, they hang on the tree until mid-winter if they are not harvested.
Hawthorn apples are available in the fall.
Hawthorn apples, also known as haws, grow on a thorny, shrub-like deciduous tree. Common hawthorne is botanically classified as Crataegus monogyna. There are roughly 300 species of Hawthorn apples and therefore may range in size, color, and flavor. Other names include thornapple, maytree, and whitethorn. Although these sour fruits are in the Rosaceae family, the same as crab apples, they are of their own genus and should not be confused. Crab apples are of the Malus genus and are known for their sweet-smelling blossoms that bloom in the spring. Hawthornes are good for attracting pollinators and small birds and mammals, which eat the fruit.
Hawthorn apples are thought to be good for the circulatory system, and may contribute to lowering blood pressure. They have been used to treat heart conditions in cultures around the world.
Because Hawthorn apples are so tart, they not usually consumed raw, but rather made into jellies or pie fillings. Hawthorn apples can also be used to make extract for flavoring. The seeds contain cyanide and should not be ingested, similar to apple seeds. They pair well with sweeter fruit such as plums or prunes.
Hawthorn tree blossoms smell unpleasant because they contain the chemical trimethylamine, a chemical associated with decomposition. In Britain, an old legend states that one should not bring Hawthorn plants into the house, since it was associated with death and the plague.
Hawthorne is a common ornamental plant in the United States. They are native to North America and northern Europe, including Britain. They grow abundantly in the northern parts of the country, and have been used traditionally by native cultures for a long time.
People have spotted Hawthorn Apples using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Spotting allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.