Date: Thu, 7 Sep 1995 17:30:43 -0100
From: Henriette Kress <HeK.HETTA.PP.FI>
Subject: Rowanberries

This year is BIG in rowanberries over here, the first good year in 3 or 4. So if it's a good rowanberry year where you live too here's some tips:

You'll find rowanberries (or mountain ash) on trees called Sorbus aucuparia. They make good-tasting jelly, or juice, or jam, if you know the tricks. (You have to treat Aronia melanocarpa berries the same way, and you can use rowanberry recipes for Aronia) (Aronia isn't bitter, it has no true taste. Well not a good one anyway, without the tricks).

By itself it's very bitter, but here's the tricks:

  1. pick from the right tree. In an abundant rowanberry year (like this one) you'll have plenty to choose from; taste a berry from each likely-looking tree and pick your lot from the least bitter. In a non-abundant rowanberry year you won't find anything to pick anyway as the birds are faster than you in the forest. And just forget about picking in the city. Even if there always are lots of berries you don't want them.
  2. freeze the things (after cleaning them of course) (cleaning meaning getting rid of stems and bad berries and leaves) (you'll have to clean them better for jam - no stems at all - but jelly and juice can take a few stems. Just get those bad berries out). 24 hours freezing is enough to make them a lot less bitter.
  3. add some apples to your jam / jelly / juice raw materials. They add some more sweetness / mellowness to your end product.
  4. add some cointreau, or good gin, or good whiskey to your end product before putting the lids on. One tablespoonful per pint jelly, jam or juice will do it.

If you leave out nr. 4 you'll never get rid of your jam; if you don't you'll have to stand guard to get some yourself.; )

If you don't like freezing (point 2), you can also put the things in vinegar for 24 hours. As I don't like vinegary taste in my jam I haven't even tried it.

And of course you can eat the things raw, but who would? Yech. They just taste bad, they're not poisonous raw either. Remember to pick the berries from a rowanberry tree, not from some red elder (Sambucus racemosa) or such.