Rowan Berry Jelly

Rowan berries

The rowan trees (otherwise known as mountain ash) are hanging heavy with orange-red berries and the temptation to pick them is very great. However, to get them when they are just right, you have to wait until after the first frost which reduces their bitterness. A little trick for those who cannot wait is to freeze them before use. Still, there is so much else to experiment with in the autumn (apples, plums, pears – see the Nordic Wellbeing Cookbook for recipes) that perhaps there is enough lined up on the kitchen counter to let the rowan berries mature properly on the branch.

Rowan berries are prized for their high vitamin C content although most of that fades in the cooking process. Scandinavian health lore is full of stories about people who swallow whole frozen rowanberries like a vitamin pill each day in the autumn in order to avoid colds.

I provide the recipe for traditional rowan berry jelly because it is a very special accompaniment to wild meat which is a Scandinavian favorite with the start of the hunting season in the autumn.  I’ve had a little help along the way with the recipe from Sara who also has a magnificent blog with green thoughts from Sweden.

Rowan Berry Jelly

3 liters or 3 quarts rowan berries
2 teaspoons citric acid
1 kg or 2.2 lbs. sugar per liter/quart  juice

Put the berries in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for approx 25 minutes. Add the citric acid and stir well. Pour the juice into a straining-cloth, this may take several hours and is preferably done over night. Bring the juice to boil and add 1 kilogram of sugar per liter juice 2.2 lbs. per quart juice). Take away the foam and pour the juice into clean jars.

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