When I was young there was a guy at the end of the street who used to harvest the hips from the rugosa rose he grew as hedging along the wall of his front garden. His name was Al and I had been told on good authority that he made beer from the fruit. He was the father of a good friend of mine and on occasions whilst in the yard I would witness the cacophony of buckets, containers and tubes that were evidently part of the magic. I always looked at the hips a little more closely from then onwards and resolved not to waste any by squishing them to watch the juice trickle over my fingers. Whilst I never had any I presume the beer was amazing.
It was mum who enlightened me that rosehips also made for a good syrup for childhood coughs and colds. Rosehip syrup was sold as a cold medicine as the hips are packed with Vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
It seems perfect then that rosehips appear in late summer to early autumn just as the season is turning and the colds begin to appear. All rosehips are edible but wild roses like dog roses (Rosa canina) and rugosa (Rosa rugosa) with simple single white, pale pink or cerise pink flowers are best and are perfect for making a nutrient packed fruit tea. The best place to find wild roses is amongst the hedgerows where they climb in and amongst other fruit producing plants like blackberries and hawthorns. You can also find them in public parks, fields, along roadsides and even in car parking facilities used as an natural hedging/boundaries (I would always avoid picking from any heavy traffic areas). Berries come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller narrow shapes to curvaceous fully rounded fat hips full of juice. Whilst I prefer to just use them in teas, it is perfectly possible to make syrups and jams with them too as a real treat.
- 6-7 Fresh rosehips
- Boiling water
Wash the hips.
Take a sharp knife and cut in half. De-seed and remove all the fine white hairs.
Rinse again to remove any traces of the hair.
Dice the berries and put into your cup. Cover with boiling water enough for your tea, cover with saucer and let steep for 10 minutes.
Add honey, stevia or sweetener of choice.
How to Dry and Store Rosehips
Drying rosehips is a great way of storing them to have throughout the season, dried rosehips also make a more intense tea. Top and tail the hips. Leave somewhere they can dry out. Once they are fully dried out and firm to touch whizz in a blender to breakdown. Shake out using a sieve to eliminate out the fine white hairs. Put the ground hips in an airtight storage jar.
To make tea take 2 x tsps per cup and add boiling water and steep for 10 mins.