Rowanberries

Rowan trees, and their bright orange berries seem to be everywhere, often lining urban and suburban streets. Reading up a bit about their edible potential reveals some contradictions – the Wild at Heart cookbook advises not to eat the raw berries, and says that a jelly made solely from their berries creates something akin to earwax (but if they are ‘cut’ with apple a fine jelly results) whilst Elizabeth David, says “their beautiful red berries have a most attractive sour-sweet flavour and make a lovely jelly for eating with game”. I tasted one ‘raw’ and have to say I think they are not good in this state (though I don’t think I was poisoned)…. I look forward to experimenting with a jelly (both pure, and an apple mix) in the Stoke Newington workshop, for which I think I’ll try David’s suggestion, given by Lady Clark of Tillypronie. “gather the rowan berries when quite ripe, quite sound, quite dry. Pick them from the stalks and put them in a deep pan. Cover them completely with water and boil until they seem soft, which will be 5 to 15 minutes. Mash them slightly and strain through a flannel bag, giving the bag a squeeze so as to have part of the pulp. Boil this either directly after straining, or next day. Allow 1lb of sugar to 1 pint of juice and skim very carefully”.