Rowan Tree Berries - Sorbus Aucuparia

Now is the time to start making delicious Rowan Jelly

Here's all you need to know about Rowan jelly! Rowan jelly is a type of preserve made from the berries of the Rowan tree, which is also known as Mountain Ash, Witch Wiggin tree, Keirn and Cuirn. Rowan berries are bright red or orange and have a bitter and sour taste when raw, but they become sweet and tangy when cooked with sugar and pectin. Rowan jelly has a deep orange colour and a distinctive flavour that pairs well with game, lamb, cheese and bread.

Rowan jelly has a long history and folklore in Britain and other parts of Europe, where the rowan tree was considered sacred and protective by the Druids, Celts and Vikings. The tree was often planted near houses, farms and churches to ward off evil spirits and witches. The wood was used to make wands, crosses, runes and other magical items. The berries were also used to make wine, spirit, ale and mead.

To make Rowan Jelly, you will need some Rowan Berries, some Crab Apples or Bramley apple cores, some sugar, some water and some lemon juice. There are different recipes you can follow, but the basic steps are:

  • Wash the berries and apples and chop them roughly.
  • Put them in a large pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer them until they are soft and mushy.
  • Strain the juice through a fine sieve or a jelly bag and measure it.
  • Add sugar according to the ratio of 375 grams of sugar for every 500ml of juice.
  • Add lemon juice to taste and optionally some rosemary sprigs for extra flavour.
  • Boil the mixture until it reaches the setting point, which you can test by dropping a little on a cold plate. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready.
  • Pour the jelly into sterilised jars and seal them.

Rowan jelly is a delicious and versatile condiment that can be eaten with various dishes. Some of the common pairings are:

  • Game meats: Rowan jelly has a tart and woody flavour that complements the rich and strong taste of game meats such as venison, pheasant, grouse, duck and rabbit. You can serve rowan jelly as a sauce or a glaze for roasted, grilled or fried game .
  • Lamb: Rowan jelly also goes well with lamb, especially roasted or grilled lamb chops or leg of lamb. The jelly adds a fruity and tangy contrast to the succulent and tender meat .
  • Cheese: Rowan jelly can be enjoyed with cheese as a snack or a dessert. It pairs well with mild and creamy cheeses such as Wensleydale, Brie, Camembert and cream cheese. You can spread rowan jelly on crackers, bread or toast and top it with cheese.
  • Bread: Rowan jelly can also be eaten with bread as a simple and satisfying treat. You can spread rowan jelly on warm scones, muffins, croissants or bagels for a sweet and sour breakfast or afternoon tea. You can also make rowan jelly sandwiches with butter or cream cheese for a picnic or a lunchbox.

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