Making Rose Hip Syrup
Rose hip syrup is really pretty easy to make once you’ve gathered your rose hips…that’s the hard part.
What are Rose Hips?
Rose hips, to put it simply, are what rose flowers eventually grow up to be. Rose hips are red to orange in color, oblong or round in shape, depending on what type of rose bush they’re growing on. The rose hips themselves often apear to have small wisps of “hair” protruding from the bottom. The ones pictured abouve are rosa rugosa or more commonly called beach roses.
What are the Health Benefits of Rose Hips?
Rose hips are not only tasty, when prepared properly, but the also bring a needed dose of vitamin C to the table during the winter months. In fact, they contain a whopping 2000 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit.
Where to Find Rose Hips
You can find rose hips in many locations and from any variety of rose bush. Forage for rosehips on rosebushes in the woods. You can also find wild roses growing on the side of the road in some areas. And look for the very large and juicy rosehips from Rosa rugosa or rock roses along coastlines and near water, even along irrigation ditches.
I live not far from the Connecticut coastline, so I typically gather from Rosa rugosa which produce large, plump rose hips like those pictured above.
How to Gather Rose Hips
Harvest rose hips by snipping off the stems with the hips attached. Keep in mind that we must share the bounty with the other creatures around us, so even though some rose species are invasive, we should endeavor to leave some for the birds to eat, especially in winter when food is scarce.
When is the Best Time to Gather Rose Hips
Rose hips are at heir best and most flavorful after the first few winter frosts have descended upon us. I believe Rose hipsare at their best when they are brightly colored but also slightly wrinkled and soft.
These can be used to make a variety of yummy treats such as jam, wine, tea and syrup. You never want to eat rose hips whole as found. Their insides contain a hairy, seedy core that must be removed. You can either scoop out this center before use, or strain the contents after processing.
Let's Start With Making a Tea
To make our rose hip syrup, we will start by first making a tea that we will then add to honey to create our syrup.
To prepare your rose hips, you need to remove any stems, leaves, and brown flower bits (called the calyx) from the hips.
Then place them in a sieve and run them under cool water to rinse them well before putting them in a food processor.
Place your rinsed rose hips in your food processor and pulse several times to break the rose hips into smaller pieces.
Put your processed rose hips in a pot of water. For one cup of rose hips, use two cups of water – or a 2:1 ratio of water to rose hips.
Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the water has reduced by about half.
Next, you’ll want to turn off the heat and allow the tea to cool, and the rose hips to steep. This will also allow the medicinal constituants more time to be extracted.
When your mixture has cooled you’ll then want to strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or several layers of cheesecloth to remove any of the fine hairs that are inside of the rose hips.
These hairs can be irritating if consumed, so we always want to strain carefully.
You can squeeze the rose hips to get all of the liquid out if need be.
It may be necessary to restrain your liquid if you see any of the fine hairs floating in it.
Restraining through a few layers of cheesecloth ought to do the trick.
Making the Rose Hip Syrup
Now comes the easiest and fun part. Making the Rose Hip Syrup!
The make the syrup, you’ll want to add equal parts of your strained rose hip tea to some local organic honey. So if you have one cup of rose hip tea, then add one cup of honey.
I always try to use local organic honey whenever possible because local honey has unique flavors that are lost when industrialized. Local honey can also help with allergies, as this will insure that the honey has the allergens native to the area you live in. Buying local is better and not just because it reduces pollution and saves resources.
Stir it Up!
Stir up your equal parts tea and honey. That’s all there is to it! You’ve made Rose Hip Syrup!
Store it in the refridgerator for up to 6 months, or freeze it for later use. Rose hips contain natural pectin, so your syrup might thicken over time to become more jelly like. That’s perfectly normal.
For use medicinally and for a high dose of Vitamin C, take a spoonful daily. As a culinary delight, drizzle some on ice cream or add aspoonful to a cup of tea for some delicious flavor.