After picking Bilberries and turning them into jams and crumbles, and seeing that the healthy crops of brambles won't be ready for another couple of weeks yet (although many plants are already laden with ripe fruits - I think we are in for a bumper harvest this year!) I turned my attention elsewhere.
|Rowan trees - why do they remind me of something from Farmville?...|
So off we went, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, to gather the berries, and hopefully some crab apples too, for the jam. As you can see from the pictures, Rowan trees are pretty easy to identify, with their 5-10 pairs of leaves per branch, and obviously the bright berries
|...Or make me think of Christmas?|
As if to prove just how much free food is available if you look hard enough, only a few hundred meters away from where we picked the rowan berries, we also found a wild apple tree with its branches straining under the weight of the small and very tart apples, which are perfect for jam-making
After picking about a kilo of apples and rowan berries, we headed home to prepare the jam. Sitting and picking the the berries off the stalk is a bit of a time consuming chore but it needs to be done, then they are washed and frozen over night to reduce the bitterness
|Looks good enough to eat!|
Rowan Berry Jam
500g Rowan Berries
500g Apples (Chopped finely)
Put the chopped apples and washed berries in a large, thick bottomed pan with just enough water to cover them. Boil this mixture until the berries and fruit go soft - the rowan berries will lose their lovely rich colour at this point, but don't worry.
Once the fruit is soft, transfer the mixture into a metal sieve and then press it through the sieve into a bowl with the back of a large metal spoon. This will remove all the seeds, skin and apple core, leaving just a soft orange pulp. Discard the rough left-overs.
In another pan, heat the sugar with a little bit of water. When the sugar starts to boil, add the fruit pulp, then bring back to a rolling boil and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. Check for consistency using a plate that has been kept in the freezer - drop some of the jam mixture onto the plate, and if when you push it around the plate it forms jammy ridges that don't run then you know the jam ready.
Transfer the jam to sterilized jars and store until needed.