There's a rowan tree in my garden that has very pretty berries. We can see them from the bedroom window.
Though pretty, these berries are not easy to pick, as the tree is tall and growing on a steep slope. Luckily, there are plenty of others around, so I don't have to go far to find one that has more accessible berries. These are not the kind of berries you'd want to eat straight from the tree. Although edible (apparently there's a small quantity of some toxin, but it's destroyed by cooking), they're bitter, but they do have an interesting flavour, so it's worth doing something with them.
Last year, my friend Gill introduced me to the idea of crab apple and rowan jelly. I tried making some then and was very impressed with it, so that went firmly on the list of things to make again. This year I duly made another batch, and the result is just as good.
I'm also experimenting with rowan wine...
... which I'll be able to tell you about in a year or so. I roughly followed the recipe published in The Guardian, except that I didn't add grape juice (so I'd expect a
thinner flavour) or any of the other additives (because I seem to get OK wine without them), so my recipe was:
- 4 lb rowan berries
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 1/2 lb sugar
- water up to one gallon
- yeast from blackberry wine (so a hint of blackberry in here, too)
This is my standard method for making wine, varying only how long I leave it to mature. I seek advice on how long wines need before they're drinkable - at about a year, rowan is one of the longer ones. By contrast, blackberry wine is reckoned to be ready,
Comments on the flavour of rowan wine vary from,
An acquired taste, to,
Like dry sherry. Well, I quite like sherry, but even if it's not much like that, I think I should make an effort to acquire the taste just for the sake of the colour!
Also harvesting this week
Charcoal burners (brittlegill mushrooms)
Parsnips (mostly tiny
thinningsthough it's probably too late for those left behind to benefit from the extra space)
French beans (actual beans now, not the whole pods, which is how I was harvesting them earlier)
Dandelion flower tea
Foraged food challenge summary page here.