September 9, 2013

Rowan Jelly

rowan jelly with berries sq

Rowan berries can be found in towns, cities and half way up mountains – wherever you live there are jelly berries just around the corner.

The season is changing and the fruits and berries are ripening. With the beautiful summer we have had some species have produced a bumper crop. Rowan is one of them and here we have a very easy recipe for Rowan jelly that tastes great with savoury dishes like cold meats, pies or cheese.

The recipe is below along with tips on identification and some photos from the weekends courses – Cooking with fire and 1 day foraging.

Rowan  Sorbus aucuparia

rowen berries1This small deciduous tree grows up to 15m tall. It is often planted in urban areas and can be found in parks, around carparks, swimming pools etc. It’s natural home is high on moorland – other name ‘Mountain Ash’. We recommend that you collect berries from places that are not too close to roads, because of pollution.

If you are unfamiliar with the tree check the leaves. They are made up of 10-14 small leaflets arranged opposite each other along a central leaf rib. The one on the end gives the leaf a point. They have a fine saw tooth edge and the whole leaf is approximately 10-15cm long. After blossoming in spring the tree produces orange/red berries in late summer and autumn.

Rowan and Apple jelly

  • 1kg (2lb 4 oz) rowan berries, taken off their stems and washed
  • 500g (1lb 2 oz) sour apples washed and cut into quarters
  • granulated  sugar
  • water

Put the rowan berries and apple pieces in a big heavy bottomed pan and cover with water. Cook gently for 40 minutes. After this time the water will be red and the fruit very soft. Strain the fruit through a fine sieve or jelly bag reserving the liquid. Do not be tempted to squash the fruit it will result in a cloudy jelly.  Measure the liquid, and put it in to a clean pan. For every 550mls of liquid add 450g sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until it reaches setting point and pour into sterilized jars. – the jelly will set at around 104°C, check it by putting a bit onto a very cold plate and seeing if it wrinkles when you push your finger through it. Put lids on the jars as soon as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

here are some photographs of this weekends courses.

Cooking with fire, and One day foraging

15 responses to “Rowan Jelly

  1. This is an old thread and I am not sure if this will help anyone, but some old printed recipes for Rowan Jelly specify that the ripe berries should not be cooked for more than about 15 minutes in order to extract the smokey flavour and colour, but to avoid too much bitterness developing. The cooking apples or crab apples can be cooked for as long as the recipe requires, and for convenience I sometimes strain the berry juices onto the chopped apples after 15 minutes to continue the cooking. The colour may not be so impressive this way but the flavour is better. Just a little bitterness is no bad thing, but too much prevents the jelly being used in the first year or two, which is rather disappointing.

    1. Thank you. It might be old but many people still find it and use our recipes. They also read the comments and I’m sure some will give your suggestion a try. Thank You, Paul

  2. Having just made Rowan Jelly from your recipe we have found it to be very bitter.. Having made it before with good results. Please can you comment.

    1. Hi John. It could be that you have picked them too early. What about giving it another go? There is also a comment in this thread saying that they found the bitterness to reduce over time. Happy Foraging, regards, Paul

  3. Hi , I’ve been foraging for food the last couple of years and even though I am confident with berries and fruit I would like to recognise edible plants too. Do you do courses in this area? I’m situated in the north of England.

  4. I know those comments date a bit but to improve the taste and reduce the tart, you can freeze your berries for a week or more. This will really bring out the natural sweetness, not unlike ice wines.

    1. Hey Frank – my comment may be a little old but thanks to your reply I now have a top tip for next years rowan berries 🙂 Thank you – will give it a try. Hanna x

  5. Oh awesome!! Thanks Gillie, I’ll be leaving it in the jars then and hoping for the best. Thanks so much for the Pontack reminder Chris. I had cordial, jam and wine on the recipe list but totally forgot that little beauty. Just bought the ingredients so its going to be a busy week!

  6. I added equal sugar to liquid – that should be plenty I guess? Lots of Rowan berries around here so I’ll give it another go this week! I think maybe I picked them too early. Elderberries are turning black too here already so thats my next project! Hanna

  7. Hello all :o) I tried to make Rowan Jelly for the first time a week or so ago… I added a few Rosehips (because I picked them along the way) The Rowan Jelly is incredibly bitter. Did I pick them too early? Were the Rosehips a mistake? Not enough sugar? Or is it an acquired taste?! Hanna (Derbyshire)

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