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Rowan Jelly

The bitterness of Rowan's berries comes through in this jelly along with a wonderful flavour development of sweet through sour, bitter and finally sweet again. It works well as a replacement for Cranberry sauce with dry or gamy meats, or is pretty fantastic on toast

Rowan berries being removed from their stems ready for cooking
Rowan berries being removed from their stems ready for cooking

Rowan, or Mountain Ash, is a native tree, but can often be found in gardens so ask any friends or relatives for some of their bounty. Ripe berries have a little give in them. The seeds contain hydrogen cyanide, so need to be removed, and the berries must be cooked or they will cause gastric upset

Recipe ingredients

Good amount of Rowan berries

Equal weight of peeled cored apples (sweet apples work best)


Jam sugar


  1. Remove the berries from the stalks and rinse thoroughly

  2. Add the apples and berries to the pan and cover with enough water to just submerge

  3. Bring to the boil until the Rowan berry skins split - add more water if the mixture starts looking too dry

  4. Once skins are split pour contents of pan into a clean jelly bag and strain overnight

  5. Measure strained liquid

  6. For every 500ml of liquid, measure 400g of jam sugar

  7. Prepare sterilised jars

  8. Add the jam sugar and strained juice to a clean pan

  9. Bring to a rolling boil until the liquid reaches set point (105 Celsius)

  10. Bottle in sterilised jars, complete by canning and allow to cool

If jars are sterilised and canned correctly, your jelly should last for 1 year unopened, and 1 month opened and stored in a refrigerator.

Rowan berry juice is usually pink after straining
Rowan berry juice is usually pink after straining

Discover more wild edibles and recipes on a foraging course and read more about Rowan here.

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!


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