‘Don’t eat red berries!’ is sound advice that you will have been instructed to follow as a child. It is sort of true too - Holly, Yew and Lords and Ladies are just three dangerous examples - but there are possibly more exceptions to the rule than you think. Guelder Rose isn’t actually a rose at all really, and is a fairly common shrub found in damp soil and it produces an abundance of red berries in late summer, just as blackberries and raspberries are fading away, right through to the depths of winter. The berries contain a toxin and should not be eaten raw, however with a little bit of cooking, that toxin is removed and we can enjoy the amazing flavour knowing it won’t make us ill.
To show off the autumnal, and arguably savoury flavour profile of the Guelder Rose berries, we have turned them into a jelly alognside another overlooked hedgerow fruit, the rowan berry. Spread it thickly on buttered toast, or try it paired with some cold meats - we have even tried it warmed and drizzled over some roast vegetables after they come out the oven. Either way, it works wonders as a sweet or savoury condiment to any meal.