Thursday, 6 August 2009

Rowan Berries; and a new home for Museum Studies

I was going to include some photos in this entry about butterflies and blackberries, just to show that Autumn is on its way. unfortunately, they are on the wrong SD card in the wrong camera, so that's that!

Anyway, to make the point, the Rowans are heavy with berries, especially the one outside the School of Museum Studies new building.

If you want a better look at the new building (work in progress) go to

The frightening point is that there will only be a few days after I get back from leave before we move and I've still got loads to pack (and throw out).

What can you do with Rowan Berries? Well they make a very acceptable light, dry, rosé wine. in our younger, more pecuniarly challenged days, we made lots of this and served it at our dinner parties (very sophisticated) and everyone enjoyed it. Here's a quick basic recipe:


2.25kg rowan berries
1.2kg finely granulated sugar
5l unchlorinated water
1 large lemon (zest and juice only)
1/2 tbsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Montrachet wine yeast

Campden tablets for sterilizing demijohns and bottles


Sort and wash the berries for soundness and crush in a fermenting bucket. Boil together the water and sugar and pour over the fruit.

Mash roughly with a sterilized potato masher then add the lemon juice and zest and allow to cool. Add the pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient and allow to sit in a warm spot for 12 hours. Add the wine yeast, wait until the fermentation starts then stir daily for a week.

Strain the liquor into a fermentation jar (demijohn) and top-off with water if required. Add a sterile bung and fermentation lock and allow to ferment for three months.

At this time rack into your second fermentation jar add a bung and fermentation lock and leave for a further month.

Your wine is now ready to rack into bottles. Once corked, leave the rowan wine in a cool dry place for at least ten months before tasting or one year for best results.

I added the Camden tablets as I think they are essential. They can also be used to stop fermentation before bottling (unless you're interested in malolactic fermentation - Google it!). I also never bothered about unchlorinated water - the chlorine evaporates readily when the water is heated.

This recipe comes from Nemeton: home of ancient recipes:

In fact this is a pretty good site with all sorts of ancient/modern and ethnic recipes if you're prepared to dig a little:

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