The Life of Rowan

Rowan trees are everywhere.  I didn’t know what they were until my mum pointed them out to me this year and now I can’t stop seeing them all over the place.   This is what they look like:


When I was last at home I set to making some Rowan jelly, but you could use the berries in a jam with some other fruits or perhaps to infuse some vodka, like in this damson gin recipe. They are very bitter so whatever you do you need to add plenty of sugar to counteract that.  The jelly is traditionally eaten with game, but also delicious with pork and is very simple to make.  Here’s a little video to show you just how simple: .


Pick your rowan berries and discard the leaves and stalks.  Place in a pan and cover with water, bring up to the boil and let simmer away for 15-20 minutes until soft.  Pour the rowans and water through a jelly bag, or a sieve double-lined with muslin, suspended over a pan and allow to drip until no more liquid comes through.  1 hour should do it if you’re not making very much.  Do not push the liquid through as this will result in a cloudy jelly.

Place a small plate in the freezer.  Measure how much liquid you have and pour it into a pan with an equal quantity of sugar.  Slowly bring up to the boil, allowing the sugar to dissolve.  Then bubble away for 10-15 minutes.  Take a teaspoon of the liquid out of the pan and place it on the plate in the freezer, leave it for 20 seconds or so and then push it with your finger.  If it wrinkles up, then your jelly has reached setting point.  If it doesn’t, keep bubbling and check every couple of minutes.  Once there, remove from the heat and pour into sterlised jars, cover and store.

It’s as easy as that.  Go and find yourself some rowans, they really are all over the place.

Heather Rosen from