For those of you who have walked through the countryside between late August and November and wondered what those oblong orange-red fruits are with the little black tufts at the end, they are rosehips. This year there were so many of the red berries hanging from hedgerows that it would have been a shame not to pick them and make something with them. When foraging, please be careful of what you are picking. If you are not 100% sure it’s the right fruit, then leave it.
Rosehips are edible, although I recommend not eating them raw as they taste super sour. They can be combined with sugar to make a wonderful syrup that can be drizzled onto anything, to give extra depth of flavour. I find using golden caster sugar gives it a slight caramel taste, which helps heighten the floral essence of the rosehips far better than if normal sugar is used.
I like to have rosehip syrup on my morning porridge as it helps me wake up. The floral flavours work well with the oats and gives me a huge boost. When I have a cold, I add the syrup to my tea or hot milk to soothe my throat and fight the illness. Rosehips contain twenty times more Vitamin C than oranges. This will hopefully stave off catching a cold. Happy foraging.
Time:1 hour 30 minutes
1kg of rosehips
2 litres of water
1kg of golden caster sugar
- Trim the tops and bottoms of the rosehips, while looking over them carefully for rot or holes.
- Wash the rosehips in cold water and then place into a large pot with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil, cover and leave for 30 minutes or until soft.
- Blend the softened rosehips or crush them using a large spoon.
- Boil for 10 more minutes then place into a sieve and allow the liquid to strain out, keep the liquid!
- Place the rosehip pulp back into the now empty pot and add 1 litre of water.
- Bring to the boil and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
- Strain the liquid off again. Keep the liquid.
- Combine all the liquid together in a clean pot. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Decrease the heat to a gentle simmer and add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
- Bring the liquid up to boil for 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool to prevent condensation from forming in the jars.
- While the syrup is cooling, sterilise the jars, lids and seals using boiling water. Leave the hot water in the jars until the syrup is ready, then empty them.
- Fill the sterilised jars with the rosehip syrup. Store in a cool place until needed.
Tip: If mould starts to grow on the surface of the syrup you can still rescue it. Carefully remove the mould with a spoon. Place the remaining syrup into a pan and boil for 5 minutes. This will kill the bacteria. Clean and sterilise the jars before placing the syrup back into them. This only works if there is a small amount of mould.
Disclaimer: Foraging for food is at your own risk. If you are not 100% sure of the plant, don’t pick it.
I recommend Food For Free (Collins Gem) as a good starting reference book as its small and can easily be carried with you while out walking and can be used to help identify plants.