Cycling home from work last night over the Polesden Lacey estate I came across this Mountain Ash (AKA rowan) tree laden with reddish-orange berries. The berries are packed full of vitamin A and C and can be transformed into a rowan jelly, where its slight acidity and tartness makes it the perfect accompaniment to strongly flavoured meat such as venison or wild boar.
Don’t try eating them raw though…they are very astringent. The birds don’t mind though. They quickly strip the branches and devour the berries. It’s perfect for ensuring the continuation of this tree species in our woods as the birds poop out the seeds on the forest floor with a dollop of their finest and potent manure guaranteeing ideal conditions for germination.
To make rowan jelly – boil up the berries and allow to simmer until soft. Allow the content to drain through a jelly bag overnight. Add 1lb of sugar to every pint of juice and then bring to the boil. Once it has reached setting point, remove from heat, pour it into jars, seal and label.