Aug 31, 2014

Wild Rosehip Syrup

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.

Are you finding delights in your neck of the woods?  Do you hop your neighbour's fence in the night and "borrow" peaches?  Do you have a hog that is truffle-trained?  Do tell - I love hearing all about the (mostly legal) wild harvesting you are up to!


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've always loved the look of rosehips and I know you can make rosehip tea out of them too. But I've never ingested any rosehips. In England, we saw huge rosehips the size of cherry tomatoes!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

can you use any kind of hips? i should do this with mine!

Rue said...

Yes - domestic hips are great too (I used them last year when someone gave me some from their roses). The only thing I worry about is if they've been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers that are not organic. Then, I wouldn't use them.

Anonymous said...

Jen, this is one of my dreams, to be in a place where I have access to such wild goodies. As it stands now I have to buy dried elderberries if I want to make tincture. I can't even collect mugwort in my neighborhood because it's either in a sprayed place or right by a dog marking spot.

I bet the rosehips would also make a good tincture or could be dried and pulverized, then put into capsules.


Rue said...

They would make a great tincture! I make elderberry tincture too.

It can get really frustrating when you have to travel an hour or more to find spray-free plants or plants far enough off a roadway. I really am spoiled.

Unknown said...

Oh I forgot about the rosehips because I haven't gone for a walk in a couple of weeks starting a new job and all. I made elderberry syrup for the kids (from storebought dried sadly) but I do know where there is a patch of roses and I should see what I can find.

Tilda E. said...

I always collect hawthorn berries, giant rosehips from rosa rugosa bushes in my neighborhood and blackberries. I raid apple, pear and plum trees too :)

HappyCrone said...

while picking blackberries from my sisters back pasture I noticed the huge island of wild roses, the hips just turning red. I also noticed some Hawthorn as well, so I'm going to be doing some harvesting very soon, while I am at it I will harvest the elderberries across the street at my other sisters house. Bet she won't even notice!!