Rowan berries are everywhere right now and I’ve just come across a recipe by F. Marian McNeill in her book the “Scots Kitchen (its lore and recipes)” (1929, Glasgow) for rowan berry jam. It seems she was quite an accomplished recipe gatherer before she entered into the world of folklore (well I guess it was the 1920’s…) but then again the book is full of the lore of the kitchen too. It’s full to bursting of old-fashioned recipes and bannock suggestions for all the major quarter days, as well as blood puddings and sowans etc. If you’re into traditionally celebrating your feasts, well I suggest looking no further than this book.
The rowan berry jam recipe is written below unchanged.
Rowan berry jam (old family Recipe)
Ingredients: Rowan Berries, Apples, Water, Sugar
To make your rowan berry jam “gather your rowan berries when almost ripe. Remove the stalks and wash and drain the berries. Put them in a preserving pan with enough cold water to float them well. Let them simmer for about forty minutes or until the water is red and the berries are quite soft. Strain off the juice, being careful to not press the fruit in the least. Measure the juice and return it to the pan. Add sugar to the proportion of a pound to each pint of juice. Boil rapidly for half an hour or until some it sets quickly on a plate when cold. Skim it well, pour into small pots and tie down quickly.” Hey presto rowan berry jam!
(ed. I’m guessing that about three apples would do for a sauce pan full size ( roughly 3 parts berries two parts apples but it will depend on your apples). You might also want to add some hogweed seeds or some Wood Avens roots to the mix to give it a little spice, but your proportions will vary and depend on the tase of your own rowan berry jam preferences. Also, you might think about putting them in your freezer beforehand to sweeten them up as you do with the diodgriafel recipe for Rowan berry booze!)