I love foraging and there is nothing nicer on a cold crisp Autumn day than collecting rosehips from the hedgerows. Only months before, it would take me longer to walk the local pathways as I had to stop to smell the wild roses - ohh how beautiful and being a Master Practitioner in NLP, I have most definitely anchored myself to the beautiful aroma and hot summer days.
I remember as a child I would pick the rose petals and fill a jar of water and soak the petals - it was my gift of perfume to my mum. Little did she or I know that rosewater cleanses and tones the skin and clears infection and inflammation in acne, spots and boils, (neither of us had these ailments!), soothes tired and sore eyes and reduces swelling of bruises and sprains.
The best time to pick rosehips according to the advice given in the older wild food books is that the fruit flesh becomes soft after a frost. The frost breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, thereby giving you more liquid once the fruit is cooked. Isn't nature amazing?!
The way to mimic frost is to pick your rosehips when they are nice and red and fat, even if they appear hard, then take them home and put them in your freezer for 24 hours, defrost and use in your rosehip recipes.
I have made many recipes from rosehips over the years and my advice is you should always freeze your rosehips, as this will allow for maximum flavour when creating your rosehip recipes.
All rosehips are edible. The ‘Hip’ is actually the fruit of the rose.
The tastiest ones I usually gather are Dog Rose (Rosa canina), I have used the Japanese Rose (the larger hip - roughly the size of a conker) however have found them to be watery - they are great for jellies, vinegars and jams however not for syrup as this need to be of full body.
Some say that rosehip seeds are poisonous, like apple seeds, they contain very small amounts of cyanide. Thomas J. Elpel in his book “Botany in a Day; The Patterns Method of Plant Identification” states that the seeds are nutritious too and should be eaten.”
Elpel is quoted in saying, “In twenty years I’ve never come across any reference to the seeds of rose hips being poisonous, except that they are hairy and could potentially become a choking hazard”. Like all things in life, you must decide for yourself if you want to eat wild food. This website is for information only and you must do your own research and make your own decisions. If you do decide to make recipes with rosehips be mindful that eating the rosehip hairs can be highly irritating to your digestive tract, hence the need to make sure you have removed them completely before using in any of your rosehip recipes.
Roses have long been valued for their cooling properties, for strengthening the heart and refreshing the spirt. The leaf, the flower and the hips can be used in herbal remedies and recipes. The hips are famous for their immune-enhancing syrup; a rich source of vitamin C, A, B and K. The hips have anti-inflammatory effects, reduce pain and increase flexibility in osteoarthritis. There are multiple benefits from taking the roseaceae including regulation of normal gut flora, insomnia, decongestant, helps prevent and relieve colds and associated symptoms and boosts the immune system. The flowers are also known for releasing mensural cramps and is cooling for menopausal hot flushes, sweats and mood swings.
The rosehip syrup I make is as follows…
Rosehip Syrup Recipe
1kg rosehip: I used the small Dog rose (Rosa canina)
3 litres of water
500g granulated sugar
Bring to the boil 2 litres of water.
Chop rosehips in food processor until mashed up, then add to boiling water.
Bring water back to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
Pour rosehips and liquid into a scalded jelly bag and allow the juice to drip through. Gently squeeze the jelly bag to extract as much liquid as possible. Be gentle as you do not want to rip the bag.
Add rosehip pulp back to a saucepan containing 1 litre of water and bring back to the boil. Then remove from heat and allow the contents to steep for another 30 minutes before straining through the jelly bag .
Add sugar to the strained rosehip liquid and dissolve, allow to simmer for five minutes, then pour into hot, sterilised bottles.
Makes: Approximately 2 litres of syrup.
We use our rosehip syrup by directly taking a spoonful a day or sprinkle on plain yoghurt or plant based milk kefir. You can spread on toast or pour a little on pancakes if you eat them. Please let me know how you use your rosehip syrup as I'm always delighted to hear from you.
Enjoy, knowing your body just had an immune boost!
Love & Appreciation, always x 💚