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?
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