Autumn is the season of berries, mushrooms and nuts. An abundant time that has many gifts to share with us. One of these being the rowan (Sorbus acuparia) berry- a surprisingly delicious food if prepared the right way. Also known as the mountain ash, wild ash and witchwood, the rowan is thought to be a healing and protective plant. Often planted close to homes and on graves, it guards against evil and hauntings. Berries garlands on red thread are one of the ways to invite the protective nature of this tree into your life.(Watch the video below to see how it's done).
So why use the berries in the first place? Well, apart from the harvesting and cooking itself being a beautiful experience and way to connect to your local environment- rowan berries are high in vitamin C and supports the immune system and digestion. The berries are far to bitter to eat raw and actually only become safe to eat once cooked. Rowan jelly is a relatively bitter tasting jelly and goes best with savoury foods or just on toast with some butter.
How to Make Rowan Berry Jelly
What you'll need:
500g Rowan Berries
250g Crab apples
The Juice of a Lemon
Cut the crab apples into pieces, they don't need to be cored or peeled. Put the berries and apples into one big pan and just cover with water. Gently simmer until the fruit softens (may be 20-30min).
Scoop all the fruit into a strainer and let the juices drip out. It's often suggested not to squeeze the fruit as it makes for a cloudy jelly. I like to squeeze out all the medicinal goodness but it's really up to you. Once strained successfully you can compost the leftover fruit bits.
Finally for every 300ml of juice collected, add 225g of sugar. The juice is what you'll make the jelly with- place the juice, sugar and lemon juice all in one pan (best one with a thick bottom to prevent burning your jelly). Bring it to a boil until the setting point is reached.
Your jelly should be ready within a few minutes! Boil it on high heat and check whether the setting point has been reached by dripping some jelly on a cold plate- if it stays in a compacted blob your jelly is ready!
Pour into sterilised jars and do the dishes! Your jelly is now ready to enjoy and share with friends, family and any local ghosts you're acquainted with.
Happy rowan jelly making ~~ ` ~ *