Mayhaw Juice--freeze vs can

pqtexApril 17, 2012

The NCHFP has guidelines for both freezing and canning mayhaw juice. I usually make jelly with the harvest, but this year I'd like to save some of the juice for drinking. Anyone canned mayhaw juice? How does the flavor of the canned juice compare to frozen?


Jill in Texas

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Mayhaw is so rare, has such a small growing range in the deep south wetlands, that I am always amazed that instructions even exist for it. Then I remember that NCHFP is University of Georgia and that explains it. :)

Try some both ways and see which you prefer. The odds of finding others who have done it are slim since even the few sites that are devoted to mayhaw focus on jams, jellies, and syrups only.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:23AM
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Thanks, Dave.

Although mayhaws do grow in bogs and wetlands, they also grow beautifully in well-drained soil. We are fortunate to have good sandy loam at our place, even though most of our area has awful black gumbo clay. My parents told stories of going with their parents to scoop up the mayhaws with nets from the wet, boggy areas, but they planted mayhaws in their yard many years ago. They make a very tasty, unique jelly that is crystal clear deep red. The mayhaw is very tart. It's a beautiful tree, especially in the spring when it is full of white blooms.

Since I forget that other parts of the country may not know what a mayhaw is, I found this off the website: "The mayhaw (crataegus opaca) is a fruit about 1/2" to 1" in diameter. Ripe from mid-April through early May, its fruit color varies from bright red to reddish yellow. It is not a desirable berry for eating raw."

"The mayhaw is a Hawthorne native to the southeastern states that is normally a 20 - 30 foot tree at maturity. Usually found in low, wet, slightly acid areas, mayhaws produce best on good upland soils in full sun."

"The mayhaw normally flowers in February and March. Ball-shaped at maturity, the mayhaw tree makes a beautiful ornamental."

"Historically, Mayhaws have been harvested in backwoods sloughs, swamps, and river bottoms. Boats are sometimes utilized in the harvest of wild mayhaws. Limbs are shaken over the boat and nets are used to scoop them out of the water. Accessibility has dwindled over the years as developers have cleared the woodlands. Commercial and home orchards are now being created with grafted mayhaws."

My grandmother used to make a delicious mayhaw cake, which was about 6-8 very thin layers of plain cake and mayhaw jelly. While still warm, she used a toothpick to poke holes in the first layer, pour warm melted mayhaw jelly over it, added the second layer, poked holes, poured jelly, and repeated until finished. The top layer was dusted with powdered sugar. I'm making my mouth water just thinking about it!

I have a feeling I won't have enough juice left to can it for drinking. :-)


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:57AM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

We just planted two mayhaws this year. We plan to add some pawpaws next year. It will be interesting to see how they do.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Melly, the mayhaws are slow growers, so be prepared to wait a spell for fruit! My husband has plans for pawpaws too, but I've never tasted one, so I don't have any input there.

I'm happy to report that my canned mayhaw juice was a success. I only canned three pints and have already opened one to see how the heat affected taste. It tasted just fine, although I don't know how time would affect it. I canned strawberry juice last year and the flavor wasn't as good as expected. Although to be fair, strawberries lose flavor in the freezer, too. Anyway, the canned mayhaw juice was used to make a glaze for a mayhaw bundt cake and the rest was added to glasses of tea (about 1/3 cup per tall glass). It was delicious.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Mayhaws do grow well in well-drained soil. My dad has a mayhaw orchard and has about 400 trees planted in two fields. He irrigates. The demand is so great, he NEVER has enough mayhaws, no matter how large the crop. His crop came 2 weeks earliuer than normal this year.

He makes mayhaw vinegar from his mayhaw juice....delicious! He also drinks the juice for the buying canned juice. I was raised on mayhaw jelly. Of course then, they went and got them in the bogs.

My dad actually came up with a tree shaker that runs off of the front of a tractor. It grabs the tree and gently shakes it. The mayhaws fall into a canvas net underneath the shaker. Sure beats pickin' by hand.

My dad is 81 years is a little write-up about him...the picture of the hands pouring the mayhaws is my dad...he loves to talk mayhaws and wears a cap with "Mayhaw Maniac" written across the front.

Here is a link that might be useful: East Texas� Traditional Summer Treat a Hidden Southern Gem

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Nice article! I think everything came in about two weeks early this year, including mayhaws and dewberries. I'm in Beaumont...not too far from you.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:20AM
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