Rowan Berry Marmalade
In the Seattle area you can still find Rowan berries to forage all over town. I made this yummy marmalade to take me through winter. This tree is often also called Mountain Ash because of the similarity in leaf structure.
Northern European peoples traditionally made bead strings and other objects from the branches for their homes and livestock as they believed the Rowan had protective energies against negative influences. To read more about the folklore read here.
If you happen to be in the Seattle area there is a whole section of the Arboretum devoted to common and obscure species of the Sorbus family of trees. I highly recommend visiting the Arboretum for this and many other plants if you have the chance. I have spent many a happy hour there with my herbalism buddies.
Besides this recipe, I've made various concoctions with the berries over the years; a Hawthorne/ Rowan carminative cordial that got thick from the Hawthorn's high pectin content that was like jello shots,yum! and pickled berries that were a really tasty accompaniment to meals.
Now on to the marmalade recipe!
I would suggest tasting a berry from the tree you intend to gather from as the taste varies wildly from tree to tree, with some being palatable and some being pretty acrid. These berries benefit from spices and sugar, but you still want them to taste edible to your palate to start with. The slight bitter taste is undoubtedly good for stimulating the digestive system and I've also read about it being used in that way. I don't remember where I read it though, so I don't have the
To add more herbal goodness, I made this with Ginger and Turmeric; known for their warming and anti-inflammatory benefits. Black pepper helps the body absorb more from the Tumeric and most foods, actually.
The surprise ingredient here is Grapefruit! It has a similar sour flavor profile to the red Rowan berries and the citrus makes it into a more classic Marmalade.
*Apparently there is no app for making recipes printable on Wix, so I've added it as a word document in the resources portion of the website if you'd like to print it.
Rowan Berry or Mountain Ash Marmalade Recipe
*Makes 4 half pint jars
4 cups cleaned berries, I don't mind the seeds, they're quite small, but could be run through a mill after cooking
2 cups sugar
1 chopped up grapefruit, smallish pieces
1 inch each Turmeric and Ginger grated
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
enough water to cover berries and get cooking started
optional: 2 tbsp. lemon juice or citric acid (I don't know the amount as I don't use it)
Put all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to a simmer. Add more sugar to taste, I tend to go lightly on the sugar. You can also add lemon juice for preservation; I figured it was OK with the grapefruit for acidity.
Let simmer until the mixture thickens, this can take some time.
Ladle marmalade into sterilized jars, cap and process in a water canner for 10 minutes.