This recipe for Rowan berry jelly makes a fabulous breakfast treat for bread or to serve with roast lamb or venison, and it is undeniably good with Wensleydale cheese.
Rowan berries appear in late summer and early fall. The stunning red berries are packed with vitamin A and C. The berries are from the mountain ash tree (Sorbus aucuparia) and although some believe the berries are poisonous, cooked ones are not. In fact, they are delicious and have been made into jellies and marmalades for centuries.
- 4 pounds/1.8 kg rowan berries (washed and stems removed)
- 3 pounds/1.4 kg apples (for cooking, peeled, cored and quartered)
- 1 pound/450 g white sugar (for every 2 cups/ 600 ml juice)
- Put rowan berries and apples into a large pan or stockpot (there should be room for the berries to reach a good rolling boil and not be crammed in).
- Barely cover the fruit with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Allow to drip through a jelly bag overnight. It is very important not to squeeze the jelly bag to extract more juice as this will make the finished jelly cloudy. The jelly will still be delicious but not look as pretty.
- Measure the juice and weigh out the correct amount of sugar as directed above. Add the juice and sugar to a clean large pan or stockpot and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase the heat and cook at a full rolling boil for 5 minutes, then test for a set. When the jelly has reached the setting point, pour into hot, sterilized jars, seal and label.
- The jelly will keep unopened for a year. Once opened, though, keep in the refrigerator.
How Do You Know You Are Picking Rowan Berries?
Mountain Ash trees are found throughout the countryside but they are just as common in the city and urban areas.
The berries arrive in late summer and fall and, as a double check, they have a spray of from 10 to 14 tiny leaves with a point at one end arranged off a central spine.
Always harvest your berries away from highly trafficked areas as gas emissions can pollute the fruits.