So Saskatoon berries, also called service berries, are a small, purplish, bush berry that tastes like raspberries, blueberries and magic all mixed together raw and even better stewed or in a pie. This berry is of the Rosaceae family, subfamily Amygdaloideae, genus Amelanchier. This berries are found mostly in North America, with one species in Europe.
Rowan berries, also called service berries, are the bright orange berry on the mountain ash. They are extremely astringent, mostly inedible until simmered with a lot of sugar or honey. This berry is of the Rosaceae family, subfamily Amygdaloideae, genus Sorbus. They are found all over the northern hemisphere. They are less bitter and more bidable if picked after the first frost, or dried, before using.
If a pre-16th century recipe calls for service berries it most likely means the berries that are hard, difficult to de-seed, and very bitter, instead of the easy to use berry that tastes like happiness.
To make Marmalade of Damsons of Prunes. (c.1584)
Take Damsons which are ripe, boyle them on the fire with a little fair water until they be soft, then draw them through a course boulter as ye make a tart set it on the fire agayne seethe it on height with sufficient sugar, as you do your quinces, dash it with sweetwater. and box it.
If you will make it of prunes, even likewise do put some apples also to it, as you did to your quinces.
This wise you may make marmalade of wardens, pears, apple and medlars, services, checkers, or strawberries, every one by himself, or mix it together, as you think good. John Partidge, “The Treasures of Commodious Conceits and Hidden Secrets”
* 4 cups of rowan berries, stems removed
* 1 apple, cored and sliced (optional)
* 3 cups of sugar
* 1 tsp rosewater
- Wash rowan berries and then place them in a sauce pan (with apple pieces if you like). Add enough water to cover. Bring pan to boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, until berries are soft and falling apart.
- Strain berries through a sieve or a cheesecloth, to get all the juice. Pour juice back into sauce pan and add sugar. Bring to boil for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Add rosewater and stir.
- Let mixture cool and store covered in a cool dark place.