Recipe: Rose hip syrup.

My hubby and I managed to get out one evening a few weeks ago to collect some handfuls of rose hips.  I had originally intended to use them for tea, but while combing the ‘net for information about whether I needed to remove the seeds or leave them, I came across a mention of rose hip syrup and got completely sidetracked.  (Not difficult to do).  Next year, I’ll get some more hips and finally make tea!

These rose hips, from our Alberta wild rose (Rosa acicularis or prickly rose), are armoured.  I’d never seen that before.  I didn’t have gloves, so I tried to avoid the threatening hips, selecting only the smooth, shiny ones.  It doesn’t matter if they’re prickly or not for use in teas or other recipes.

There had been only one light frost before we gathered our rose hips, and it was a tad early in the season – it’s best to wait to gather them until there have been a few frosts and the hips are deep red in colour.  (They are more flavourful then!).   You can collect them from any variety of rose, although I’ve read that those from the rugosas and the wild roses are the tastiest.

As for the seeds…for my syrup I did not have to remove them, and for tea it is optional to do so.  The seeds contain fine hairs which are severe skin irritants (they are actually an ingredient in itching powder) and you don’t particularly want them in your digestive tract, but you will be sieving them out if you make tea, juice, or syrup.  (If you’re making jam, you will want to hull the hips first, so the seeds don’t go into the final product).

This is my recipe for small batch rose hip syrup – feel free to adjust the quantities if you manage to gather more hips than I did!

Rose Hip Syrup

1 cup rose hips

1 1/4 cups water

Thoroughly wash and stem rose hips, then place in a blender and chop finely.  Place hips in a non-reactive pot and add water.  Bring to a boil, then promptly remove from heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.  Strain the hips through a jelly bag or a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.  This will take some time – don’t rush the process by forcing the hips through the bag with the back of a spoon.  (If you have some extra rose hips for tea, now is the time to prep them and enjoy a cup while you wait!).

Place the rose hip juice into a clean pot.  Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and strain again, through a clean jelly bag or cheesecloth.  This is done to ensure the syrup is as clear as possible.

Return the juice to the pot for a final time and add 3/4 cup sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once the sugar is incorporated, remove from heat and promptly bottle (or in my case, pour it in a Mason jar, because the little bottles I thought I had must have been used for another project!).  🙂  Keep the syrup refrigerated.

Because this syrup is not heavy, it’s not really glamourous for drizzling on pancakes, but it’s totally doable!  A little bit topping vanilla ice cream or – better still – fresh peach or nectarine slices is fantastic.  I’ve been primarily drinking mine – I add a couple of tablespoonfuls of rose hip syrup to a glass and top with ice cold water.  A teaspoon in a cup of green tea is fabulous as well.

Have you ever harvested rose hips?  What did you do with them?

I’m taking part in the Eat Make Grow blog hop this week!  Just click on the Eat Make Grow badge on the right hand side of my page to check out the fantastic contributions of all of the participating bloggers!


  1. This is brilliant! I have been looking for a recipe where I don’t need to deseed these itchy “berries”. I must now be patient and wait for a frost, as my rugosa rose is laden with hips this year. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Such interesting information! I had no idea rose seeds were an ingredient in itching powder! That makes cooking with rose hips seem a little dangerous! I’ve never done anything with my rose hips, but I have some on one rose now that are so pretty, maybe I’ll give this a try. Thanks for the recipe!

    • You’re welcome! If you do end up trying the recipe, I hope you like it! Next year, I definitely have to gather more – in addition to tea, I’d love to try making jam. I’m not too keen on removing all of those seeds, however….

  3. Sounds delicious. This reminds me of the pastries stuffed with rose hips that were made by the grandmother of a friend of mine when I was growing up – his family was Chinese.

    • Oh, that sounds lovely and tasty! I combed the ‘net for baking recipes using rosehips and I found all kinds of assorted breads, cakes, and even cookies. Apparently in Sweden, it’s popular to make rose hip soup. Definitely incentive to collect more next year!

  4. I usually leave my hips for the wildlife that do a good job of eating them all winter…but I might try a tea or syrup next year…great idea. Of course I would need more hips and with my fairy rose I will have plenty as it is a massive bloomer.

    • That’s definitely a good tip, and one I ought to have mentioned in my post…when picking rose hips for recipes, we should leave some on the plants for the wildlife, who will appreciate them in the fall and winter. Thanks so much!

  5. HI Sheryl, thanks for stopping by my blog. I popped over to see what you have going on. Love the photo of your prickly rose hips. I have want to try making rose hip things, but I guess I need to plant rose first. I will head over to my neighbors and see if she minds if I take a few of her (and leave some for winter wildlife). I can see using the syrup for tea (hot or cold).

    • I love the syrup in hot green tea, but I haven’t tried it iced yet. I agree with you, I think it would be excellent! 🙂 I hope you get a chance to gather some rose hips.

  6. well tried to juice in my new stainless steam juicer. I cleaned the berries, took off all leaves et cand put the hips in the steamer with the seeds inside. MY JUICE IS THE COLOR OF A MUD PUDDLE AND TASTELESS. Any ideas in what I might have done wrong. AMC

    • Oh, that’s not good to hear! The juice colour may not be as pink as you may wish it to be, but that can be remedied by adding a dash of lemon juice to it. The addition of the acid will colour the juice nicely. As for the taste…the only thing I can think of is that rose hips become more flavourful the later you harvest them (some people even suggest allowing them to go through their first frost). If you’ve picked them recently, however, I’m not sure that harvest time is the issue. I’ve never yet had a poor experience with taste, so I’m afraid I’m not sure what can be done to fix it. I’m so sorry this recipe hasn’t turned out well for you.

  7. This year there were tons and tons from all the little wild pink roses that grow along the rivers here in northern New Mexico. and actually it was so dry this year that they lasted about one week and then all the little rose buds dried up. Never saw that happen before. It was so sad to see dried up little tiny roses everywhere. More than normal I would have to say. I love to paint watercolors of them when they are in bloom. So fresh and dainty. So I’m thinking that they still came out as rose hips even when they didn’t open as a rose. I took lovely photos but didn’t pick any. Now I know what to do with them, Thanks you much and I’m going to pass this along to a friend who loves to can.
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne too

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