Saturday 1 August 2009

The Preservation Of the Saints

There's Rowan Williams


And there's Rowan Atkinson

rowan atkinson

And there's the rowan tree in our front garden.


Since we moved in in 1996 I have kept saying "I really must make rowan jelly this year!"

So yesterday, after I'd unloaded all the Holiday Club stuff from the cars, I picked a bowl of fruit.

It did not take long to get 1.5kg of berries. In fact this picture was taken after I picked just the lower branches


bowl of berries There are a lot of recipes out there on the Internet, and I followed Hugh F-W's template for hedgerow preserves from the Guardian.

Last night I boiled up the fruit [I used Bramleys, as I didn't have any crab apples] It looked alarmingly like baked beans in colour!

DSCF0208 Bob assisted me in the production of a jelly bag for straining. I am not going to shell out £20 for the fancy Lakeland one [and certainly not £99 for their electric jam maker!]

DSCF0209 Ancient kitchen stool inverted, with a clean old pillowcase fixed across using springclips and clothes pegs.

I had to keep an eye on it though- the bowl which fitted underneath did not look like it would hold the full amount!

HFW says if you want very clear jelly, simply let it drip - if you want maximum quantities, then squeeze the pulp - but expect cloudiness in your jelly.

When Bowl #1 was full, I bailed it out into


another bowl using a plastic cup [Having realised that with the pillowcase in place, I couldn't actually lift out the original brown bowl!!]

Decided that for the second lot, I would go in for a bit of squeezing. It was all a bit messy, I am afraid. The juice was a lovely  orangey pink

Left it dripping overnight, and came down this morning to find Bob had nobly mopped up my sticky trails and cleaned up the stool.

I had 1800ml of liquid, so I put the squeezed and non-squeezed into two separate pans with the requisite amount of sugar and set it all off to a 'nice rolling boil' as they say.

DSCF0213 There was a lot of scum which I skimmed off into a bowl. One pan definitely looked clearer than the other, whilst cooking, but when I got round to potting up, you could not really see which was which - neither was perfectly clear. I pressed the skimmed-scum through a sieve and we tried it on a piece of toast. I can see why it is recommended as an accompaniment to cold meats and cheese, rather than as an alternative to strawberry jam - it is rather tart, almost bitter. But pleasant, nonetheless.


I do love the way it has a jewel-like sparkle!

The jars have gone into the garage now, ready to have labels and pretty fabric hats.

Is it mad to start preparing Christmas gifts in July?

While picking the berries, I was humming old hymns to myself.

The alternative name for the Rowan Tree is the Mountain Ash. This first hymn has the tune "Mountain Christians"

For the might of thine arm we bless thee, our God, our fathers' God;
thou hast kept thy pilgrim people by the strength of thy staff and rod;
thou hast called us to the journey which faithless feet ne'er trod;
for the might of thine arm we bless thee, our God, our fathers' God.

For the love of Christ constraining, that bound their hearts as one;
for the faith in truth and freedom in which their work was done;
for the peace of God's evangel wherewith their feet were shod;
for the might of thine arm we bless thee, our God, our fathers' God.

We are watchers of a beacon whose light must never die;
we are guardians of an altar that shows thee ever nigh;
we are children of thy freemen who sleep beneath the sod;
for the might of thine arm we bless thee, our God, our fathers' God.

May the shadow of thy presence around our camp be spread;
baptize us with the courage which which Thou blessed our dead;
0 keep us in the pathway their saintly feet have trod;
for the might of thine arm we bless thee, our God, our fathers' God.

and the second is usually sung to "Ash Grove"

The Master hath come, and He calls us to follow
The track of the footprints He leaves on our way;
Far over the mountain and through the deep hollow,
The path leads us on to the mansions of day:
The Master hath called us, the children who fear Him,
Who march ’neath Christ’s banner, His own little band;
We love Him and seek Him, we long to be near Him,
And rest in the light of His beautiful land.

The Master hath called us; the road may be dreary
And dangers and sorrows are strewn on the track;
But God’s Holy Spirit shall comfort the weary;
We follow the Saviour and cannot turn back;
The Master hath called us, though doubt and temptation
May compass our journey, we cheerfully sing:
“Press onward, look upward,” through much tribulation;
The children of Zion must follow the King.

The Master hath called us, in life’s early morning,
With spirits as fresh as the dew on the sod:
We turn from the world, with its smiles and its scorning,
To cast in our lot with the people of God:
The Master hath called us, His sons and His daughters,
We plead for His blessing and trust in His love;
And through the green pastures, beside the still waters,
He’ll lead us at last to His kingdom above.


  1. Wow! I thought you'd take a nap after Holiday Club, but YOU picked berries and made jelly! Beautiful!

  2. I like the impromptu jelly bag. Rowan jelly is quite nice with savoury stuff too, and you can put a dollop in venison or beef stew to give it umph, just as you would redcurrant jelly.

    I'm coming back with a link to Rowan Atkinson doing a Rowan Williams bit on Youtube.

  3. Here it is

    ...although I'm sure the ABC would never use a phrase such as "fat, agnostic, arse..."


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