This week we made a jelly from foraged Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) berries and a few wild apples (for their pectin). The jelly is quite beautiful and the taste, whilst a touch bitter, pairs wonderfully with blue cheese.
The recipe was taken from Food for Free (which I highly recommend as a beginners foraging book).
750g (~1.5 lbs) rowan berries, as ripe as possible
750g (~1.5lbs) organic white sugar
3 large apples, pips removed but cores kept
* we use beet sugar rather than cane as it is produced within the UK
Pick over the rowan berries and remove any that have spoilt. Take out as much stalk as possible.
Add the rowan berries and the apple, sliced, into a pan and just cover with water. Simmer for about 30 minutes on a medium heat. The water will turn pink.
Turn off the heat. Mash the fruit into a pulp and then add to a muslin or straining bag and hang over a pan, preferably overnight. Don't squeeze the bag as it'll cause the jelly to be cloudy!
After 12 hours have passed, it's ready to heat. Add the sugar to the liquid in the pan and place on the hob over a medium heat. You need to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove any scum that forms on the top of the liquid.
If you need to sterilise some jars, now is a good time to do so. We put ours into a cold oven and turn it to 100 degrees C (212 F). The lids are submerged in boiling water.
Use a jam thermometer or similar to keep track of the liquid. Once it has reached 105 degrees C (221 F) it should set. I held it at this temperature for 5 minutes or so.
Pour the liquid straight from the pan into the hot jar and seal immediately. This keeps everything sterile. A wide-mouthed funnel is very helpful for this.
The jelly should set (although not as firm as jam) once it is cool.
I've tried a couple of times to make rowan jelly, but have both times felt it was a waste of sugar! I just can't get myself to like the taste at all. I even bought some, thinking it might have been something I did, but that was just the same. I've tried super ripe berries as well as one's that are just ripe. It's a pity, since we always get a good crop of berries here. I know you can get tastier varieties of rowan, so that might be worth a try I suppose....
I make it without apple and find it sets solid, other than that I make it the same way you do, though minus the thermometer.
It's not something you eat on toast it's an ingredient like redcurrant jelly, it is an excellent replacement for wine in recipes as it has some of the same tannic taste.
Skandi Rogers wrote:...it is an excellent replacement for wine in recipes as it has some of the same tannic taste.
That is a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing!
I completely agree that you wouldn't want to eat it on toast - we tried and both pulled faces as we looked at one another! With a slice of cheese, however, it is just the ticket. I think it may be rolled out at Christmas with a cheese board.
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