Last week at a local business, I noticed that the wild roses in their landscaping still had rose hips. I asked if I could steal a few and the woman said ‘oh, making tea!’. Most hips were gone (I suspect a certain employee) but I came away with a few.
I have one rose that leaves behind a lovely sized hip after the roses are done, but right now they are still green. A couple years ago we ordered roses and received a free one as a gift. The free one is four times the size of the ones we bought, starts blooming first and stops last, and gives those wonderful rose hips. I imagine it’s so prolific because it’s apologizing for being the freebie no one wanted. We love it.
Did you know roses are related to apples? Not only in the same family, but think about a rose hip – don’t they look like little apples?
Rose hips are extremely high in vitamin C. During World War II, oranges couldn’t be exported to Britain so people dried rose hips and made a National Rose Hip Syrup for all the children to keep them healthy.
You can’t eat the seeds within the hip, but the hip itself can be eaten straight off the bush, or dried. Just make sure you slice the hip and de-seed it. I’m in the process of drying the few I picked last week.
They’re easy to pick. Just give them a gentle twist off the branch. This leaves a little hole at the top and you can see the seeds inside. The hole will help them dry nicely. The ones I just picked came with a tiny little spider. I had to find a safe place to put it because our kitten was very interested.
A nice, healthy tea in the winter when all your friends are spreading cold germs your way is to mix dried rose petals, hips, and mint. I wonder what chamomile would be like added to that? Maybe a little honey, or passion flower. Or lemon balm. My lemon balm plant is huge and prolific.
And I read about a rose hip jam you can make, if you have enough hips. Once they are dry and de-seeded, grind them in a coffee grinder. Mix that powder with apple cider or apple juice to make a jam-consistency paste and use it like you would any jam. Sounds like some people also add spices like cinnamon or vanilla, and one place I saw said to try mixing the powder with raspberry juice.
All of this makes me think ahead to summer. I’m going to try drying rose petals. And in the fall I’m going to go back to that local business before the employee gets out there. And I’ll watch for wild roses like we used to have at our previous home.
Now that I think about it, a good friend of mine planted rugosa roses a few years ago to make a hedge. Might have to visit her next fall.
On this dreary rain-and-snow-mixed day, it’s nice to sip rose and mint tea and think about the flowers to come.