There are a few things that can make even the most stalwart summer-lover feel glad about the waning sun. One of those miracles is the wild fruit that is offered up just before autumn arrives, found in all the unruly places. I have discovered abandoned lots that house shaggy crab-apple trees, grapevines left to wander over fences and grow down into alleyways and walking paths, and huge stands of wild rose that grow all over the valley hills. The elderberries show off their dusty blue fruit now, teasing from just beyond my reach, and I've spotted several unruly apple trees from long-forgotten orchards still valiantly offering up their bounty.
While on a walk in the hills with a dear friend this week, we came upon a very large stand of wild roses that were boasting bright red hips. My nieces have been complaining about scratchy throats lately, so I harvested a small amount of the vitamin C-packed fruit and headed home to make syrup.
Simple Rosehip Syrup
Wash rosehips, and remove ends and any damaged/spotted portions
I use a 1-2 -1 ratio:
1 cup of rosehips
2 cups of water (plus an extra splash)
1 cup of sugar or honey
Bring rosehips and water to a boil in a pot
Turn water down to a simmer and mash rosehips
Let simmer 30 minutes and remove from heat
Strain rosehip mash and return liquid to pot
Add sugar (or honey) and return to a boil
Let simmer until syrup thickens 30-40 mins or more
Store in sterilized jars in the fridge for 4-6 months
To "keep the doctor away" I have my girls take a tablespoon once a day, especially now that they are heading back to school. I want their immune systems working well when they are sitting in a building with recycled air and multiple kids with colds. The syrup is so good though, I have no trouble convincing them to use it.
If syrup isn't your thing (and you don't like it on pancakes or ice cream, and you are a monster of some kind) then you can harvest rosehips to make jelly, herbal teas, wine or cordials, or even infuse them in oil for a gorgeous (and astringent) facial oil.