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Rowan berry butter

This is one of my favourite autumn rituals, and it produces a divine tart but sweet fruit butter which is perfect with either fatty meat or strong cheese.

Collect bright orange Rowan berries (aka Mountain Ash). Rinse them off, and snip them off the stems into a small saucepan. Just cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Chop up a few apples collected from the many apples which fall to the ground. Don’t peel or core, just chop up and add to the pot, then allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. When the fruit is soft, crush the berries using a potato masher. At this point, I add lots of jamming sugar. To be honest, I don’t measure, but just add “enough”. Bring to a rolling boil and add a bay leaf.

Then, I switch off the heat and leave everything covered, in the pot over night. In the morning, the whole lot has set, but now you gently warm it up again.

In the meantime prepare your glass jars. When you are ready, pour the berry mixture through a metal sieve into another warmed saucepan, making sure that no seeds escape, for they are poisonous. I like to push the fruit through so that a very fine puree falls into the second saucepan creating a berry butter. Very gently warm this saucepan of your berry butter so that it is boiling once again and then transfer into your jars. I made a delicious discovery, and that is if I continue to boil it, the berry butter caramelizes to a darker colour, which made the result even more tasty. Then I made further discovery, that if I add chilli flakes, I get a devilishly hot, sweet, tart berry butter which is jolly nice with fatty meat or strong cheese.