The rowan, also known as the mountain-ash tree (specifically, the Sorbus aucuparia, Sorbus torminalis and Sorbus domestica species), produces the most wonderful red berries during September and October. They’re unbelievably red.
The tree grows in many places in the cooler climes of the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a favourite of birds and foragers in Britain and Scandinavia. The tree is also known as the dogberry and bird-berry.
Many people think the berries are poisonous, but they’re not. When eaten raw, they are, however, bitter and astringent in flavour. I know. I’ve personally tasted them! Well, you sorta must if you want to know what to do, no?
The berries may be turned into jelly, pickles or chutney. I chose to make a warming, winter chutney. Super easy, gluten free. Makes approximately 600g.
- 400g rowan berries (discard dried or black ones)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 shallots or 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cooking apples, roughly chopped (although strictly not cooking apples, I used russet because I like them)
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 or 2 star anise
- 2 Tablespoon apple cider or malted vinegar
In a large saucepan, mix all ingredients.
Add enough water to barely cover the mixture (somewhere around 400ml should do the trick). Mix well.
Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.
Jar it up once it has cooled.
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