If you don’t grow roses and harvest their hips in your own garden, the hedgerows, overgrown pastures and woods’ edge are full of wild rose hips this time of year, that are yours for the labor of harvesting. Take advantage of this free crop, which is chockablock full of vitamin C!
Rose hips also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium and Magnesium, Manganese and are a good source of Dietary Fiber.
Rose hips are ready to harvest in the fall when they turn orange or red. Wild multiflora hips are quite small, whereas the hips pictured here are from the dog rose (Rosa canina) and are quite fleshy.
I use the hips to make jam and preserves, as well as dry them to use in tea, sauces and syrups. However my favorite way to use rose hips is in the following rose hip and honey eliixir.
Rose Hip and Honey Elixir
In a saucepan, cover the hips with water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 to 60 minutes until they are somewhat tender. Check to see if you need to add more water. Once they have softened somewhat, you can crush them with a potato masher to speed up the cooking time.
A food mill is the best way to separate the seeds and tough skin from the pulp. If you don’t have a food mill, process the hips in a food processor or blender and then force it through a sieve. Run all of the cooked rose hips and their liquid through a food mill to remove the seeds and tough skin. You will have a lovely puree, sort of thick like an applesauce.
Measure the puree and mix it with equal parts organic honey; I used orange blossom in my last batch and it is practically ethereal in taste. I pack this into clean jars, label and store in the refrigerator.
This is an elixir–it tastes magical–and helps me get through the cold and flu season. I take it by the spoonful, stir it into a cup of tea, savor a dollop on a scone or toast, or add it to a bowl of yogurt and fruit.