I’m writing this post because recently I came across a tree with impressively sweet rowan berries. While walking my poodle. They were so pleasantly sweat, almost like raisins, I ate all the bunches I could reach, like three or four of them! Very tasty. I was quite astonished – never knew that they could be this sweet. Usually, besides being sweet, they are sour and bitter as well. These were just sweet. In hopes to find more with the same flavor, now I test every tree I see. No luck so far! Even though many have similar-looking leaves as that magical tree. Must be some unique variety of the tree, I guess.
If you live in cold climate I’m sure you know what berries I’m talking about. Covered in ultra-colored clusters you can spot these trees in the backyards, in parks, in the wild. They beautify the fall and attract various birds. In Canada, the tree is also called a mountain ash.
I’ve took a close-up picture of that tree’s brunch so that you can see the shape of the leaves. Maybe you’ll get lucky as well. If not, it worth picking some rowans anyways. You’ll know why in a minute.
First, I would like to point out that Europe and Russia have a soft spot for the berries. Both, in the kitchen and culture. A whole array of foods like wines, jams, tinctures, liqueurs, syrups are made from them. I remember my mom made wine out of them. They are substituted for coffee beans even, which is neat – I’m thinking of trying that. Traditionally they are also served with game. And, the berries are heavily ingrained in Slavic and Scandinavian cultures. Many songs, tales, and poems mention the tree. Personally, read a few Russian pieces. Plus, purely random things, like streets, are named after it.
Now, here is the top four reasons of why you may want to pick some:
Four notable benefits of rowan berries
1. Outcompete oranges and lemons in vitamin C
They have more vitamin C than oranges and lemons. In fact, in northern Europe, the tree is known as a “Scandinavian lemon”. This vitamin keeps your immunity and skin health in check. That means less flues and more baby-like skin.
2. Spherical carrots
They have as much carotenoids as carrots. They are good for eyes, skin appearance, respiratory problems like bronchitis and asthma. Also, carotenoids will help if you are looking to speed up the healing of your recent injury or cut.
3. Deal with heavy metals and radiation-related damages
The berries are rich in pectins. Pectins take care of your gut. For instance, they are effective at alleviating heartburn and diarrhea. What’s more, is this 2012 Russian study says that pectin content in rowan fruits is “high enough to be used in the prevention of poisoning by salts of heavy metals and lesions from radioactive elements!
4. Run away E. coli bug!
Generally, the berries are picked after the first frost, which is around now in Alberta. The freezing fades the bitterness a little and sweetens up the berries. You also want them frozen because fresh they contain parasorbic acid. This substance in high quantities may negatively effect kidneys, digestion. Whereas upon freezing it gets converted to the friendly sorbic acid I talked about. The other option if you are picking the berries before the frost: leave them in the freezer for 12 hours.
To maximize the nutritional perks: juice the berries, dry, add to teas, freeze for later.
I’m thinking.. maybe I should make wine or something alcohol-based from them..! Keeping everything raw of course. Just read that raisins and figs can help the berries go bad… because by themselves they won’t. Or coffee perhaps. I’ll see.