Eat Your Rosehips (They're Good for You!)
Hip hip hooray for rosehips!
Rosehips are not only edible. They're also good for you. In fact, a single rosehip contains more Vitamin C than an orange, according to National Geographic's Edible!
Although you probably won't want to eat rosehips straight from the bush, you can enjoy the flavor, aroma and health benefits of organic rosehips in a variety of concoctions, from rosehip tea to rosehip syrup. You can also get your daily dose of vitamin C by taking rosehip supplements.
What is a rosehip?
The rosehips used in cooking are formed from the spent blossoms of the dog rose bush (Rosa canina). Because Rosa canina grows wild, you can forage for rosehips in autumn.
If you grow dog roses in your garden, you probably spend time throughout the summer deadheading them, that is, removing their spent blooms. After all, you want them to flower--and keep on flowering. In late summer, however, you should limit your snipping to the few roses that you pick for arrangements so that your bushes don't produce lots of new growth that will be killed in the upcoming cold weather.
When you cease to deadhead, your Rosa canina's petals will eventually fall away, and the spent blooms will form rosehips--small berries that contain as many as 150 seeds. In addition to vitamin C, these hips contains vanillin as well as sugars, making them delectable additions to jams, jellies, syrups and other sweet treats.
When should rose hips be harvested?
For the sweetest flavor, you should gather ye rose hips while ye may (Sorry, Herrick!) in the fall, preferably after the first hard frost.
Don't, however, wait until the hips are dried up in order to harvest them. That's when they're better food for birds than people. Rather, select rose hips that have turned a rich deep red color. That's when they're at their best--slightly sweet, very tart and full of good nutrition.
HOW CAN ROSEHIPS BE USED?
Throughout the ages, gardeners and cooks have used rosehips in a variety of delicious recipes. If you have access to organic, pesticide-free rose hips, you too might enjoy making food and drinks from rosehips.
ROSEHIP TEA FOR FOUR
Sip a cup of rosehips.
Rosehip tea has a sweet, tangy flavor, and like everything thing else rosehip, it's packed with vitamin C. Although rosehip tea may be purchased, if your Rosa canina bushes are pesticide-free, you can easily make your own fresh rosehip tea. The following is a basic recipe for fresh rosehip tea.
5 c. boiling water
4 Tbsp. fresh rosehips, chopped
Bring 5 c. water to boil. Meanwhile, collect about 1 cup pesticide-free rosehips. Wash them carefully, removing any debris. Then chop them until you have enough to fill four tablespoons--one tablespoon per cup of boiling water.
Rinse the teapot with boiling water in order to warm it. Add the rosehips, and then pour 4 c. of boiling water into the pot. Allow to steep 3 to 5 minutes.
For rosehip tea with a high vitamin C content, fellow hubber Plinka recommends soaking the hips in lukewarm water for several days rather than simply pouring hot water over them.
Want additional tea recipes made from fresh garden ingredients? Check out "Soothing Teas from the Garden."
Rosehip syrup is luscious on biscuits, ice cream and pancakes. You could also pour it over slices of Rose Scented Cake. (See link to recipe below.)
Rosehip syrup can also be added to jams and jellies, and it's surprisingly easy to make.
For step-by-step directions, go to this recipe from The Guardian's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. To make rosehip syrup, all you'll need are three ingredients: rosehips, water and sugar.
To make a rose-scented cake from recipe provided by National Public Radio's Victoria C. Rowan, you'll need organic rose water and two organic roses--in addition to other "cake-making stuff" like butter, sugar, eggs and flour.
For the full recipe, follow this link. Serve your rose-scented cake with ice cream and drizzle it with rosehip syrup!
© 2011 Jill Spencer