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Article: Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 33 "Rowan"

Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 33 "Rowan"

Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 33 "Rowan"

Botanical Name : Sorbus aucuparia

Common names : Rowan, Mountain-Ash, Amur mountain ash, European mountain ash, quick beam, rowan berry.

Physical appearance : A relatively small tree, growing up to 20 metres in height with a fairly narrow trunk. Its bark is a distinctive grey colour and is mostly smooth until fully mature, when it becomes much darker. It has alternating, toothed leaves which grow in pairs of 5-10. It produces small, white flowers which grow in umbel. It produces large clusters of small orange berries as fruit.

Best places to find : Very common tree, planted for ornament or for its fruit. It can be easily found in parks and along highways. Generally, the Rowan likes moist, acidic soils. 

Edible parts : Rowan berries should not be eaten raw as they are highly astringent, diuretic and laxative due to high levels of parasorbic acid! However, once cooked or processed, they are high in Vitamin C and were traditionally used to prevent Scurvy and to treat other conditions such as chest infections, gout, colds, flu and rheumatism.

(Left - Edible variety. Right - Wild variety).

Time of year : Best picked in October, once they have developed their full, deep orange colour. Removing whole clusters of berries is the easiest way to harvest. Some argue that the fruits should only be picked after the first frost.

Recipe  : Rowan Jelly - Very common accompaniment to lamb and game. Usually, a little pectin will need to be added or alternatively, use some Crab apples. 

Interesting factoid : Rowan makes for good wood for construction and furniture. Traditionally, its bark has been used to die wool red or brown.

NB! - Please be sure you know what you are picking, many plants look similar to each other and may be poisonous. If you are unsure, please seek professional instruction!

The Bushgear Team

Photos courtesy of Kenraiz, Hekerui and Eeno11 via Wikipedia Creative Common Attribution


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