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what can I do with Rowan berries

 
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Last year there were loads of berries on the old Rowan trees in the garden and they just got left for the birds. I was wondering if there is any way we can use them. there are 4 trees so will still be plenty for the birds.
 
Mother Tree
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I made rowan berry jelly once. It was a bit 'sharp' but excellent with lamb, especially older lamb which was bordering on being mutton.

That was back in Wales though. I haven't seen a rowan tree since I moved. I wonder if they'd grow in Portugal?
 
Katy Whitby-last
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So is that just like making jam?
 
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I can't remember exactly how I made it, but I do remember it was virtually inedible as a jam - just a small dollop with a meal was enough.

Here's one recipe which uses apples, presumably to make the finished jelly a bit less tart.

And another for one with cognac, but no apples.

I'm very tempted to try and scrounge some seeds off you...
 
Katy Whitby-last
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I'll happily save you some seeds. I don't know what variety they are though.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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So does anyone else have any ideas to add or is jelly my only option?
 
pollinator
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The country living encyclopedia has some recipes for their use
 
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I made them into juice, but like others have said, they are strongly flavored. I made juice with OJ and mountain ash/Rowan. THis year I'll try mixing them with aronia.
John Saltveit
 
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Several sources have recipes for country wine made from rowan berries. The berries are so bitter because of their high concentrations of tannins, to the point that they've been used as mordants for dyes.

They contain mostly sorbic acid, but some parasorbic acid, which is toxic and causes kidney damage. But freezing or drying the fruits seems to degrade this chemical into sorbic acid, as well as reducing their bitterness. Try collecting them after the first frost, or putting them in your freezer, for a time.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Cal Edon wrote:Several sources have recipes for country wine made from rowan berries. The berries are so bitter because of their high concentrations of tannins, to the point that they've been used as mordants for dyes.

They contain mostly sorbic acid, but some parasorbic acid, which is toxic and causes kidney damage. But freezing or drying the fruits seems to degrade this chemical into sorbic acid, as well as reducing their bitterness. Try collecting them after the first frost, or putting them in your freezer, for a time.



That's fascinating - thanks. Does cooking affect the type of acid as well or is it just freezing and drying? I am wondering if I should freeze them before making jam.
 
Cal Edon
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Cooking is supposed to break down or inactivate the toxins as effectively or even better than freezing or drying. Much as with elderberry.

(Oddly, the various sources I consulted all listed different effects for parasorbic acid. But it's pretty clear you don't want to it eat raw in any case!)
 
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