Autumn Berries

Over the next few days (when I get the Time) I will be adding new recipes to this article starting with Rowan jelly.

While out walking the dogs the other day we met a young family collecting berries.  Chatting with them about what to collect and all the wonderful creations that can be made from nature’s autumn larder reminded me of some of the jams and jellies my Mother and Granny used to make.  I even tried my hand at some of the recipes.  So I thought I would dig out the books and share some of them with you.

Rowan by Peter Ferns

Rowan or Mountain Ash, Sorbus aucuparia

There are many names for this beautiful and delicate looking tree which has become one of my favourites.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Rowan here is a link to a post by Nick the Greek, all about the Rowan. The berries were used for many things from making protective necklaces to cider and the wood was used to make wands long before Harry Potter was born.   My mother made Rowan jelly every year when she worked as the cook in Murthly castle.  It was made to accompany the many game dishes she cooked for the Laird and his family.   I am sure you can use it to accompany other dishes such as Lamb or a vegetarian nut roast.


1 Kg Rowan Berries, Cleaned and the stalks removed.

1 Kg Cooking apples or Crab apples, this ads pectin which helps the jelly set.

1 Lt Water

1 Kg Sugar


Wash your de-stalked berries until the water runs clean.  Put them in a large pot with the apples, pour in the water and bring to the boil them simmer for approximately 30 min until the berries are soft.  Take the pot off the heat and mash with a tattie masher.

Once you have mashed them up strain the pulp through muslin or a very fine sieve.  Allow this to drip through overnight to get all the liquid out.

The next day over a low heat dissolve the sugar in your juice.  Once it has all dissolved turn up the heat to high, boil the mixture for 10-15 minutes.  If you have a thermometer the temp should be 104 Centigrade or you can put a small drop on a cold plate (put plates in the freezer beforehand) for a bit and if it wrinkles when you touch it.  Remove the scum that forms on the top while it is boiling and any when it cools to give you clear jelly.

Put your mixture into your already sterilised jars.


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