A few days ago, my wife and I were taking an evening walk. It was along a path that meanders through town, along side a couple of creeks, and by the edges of a couple of sub-divisions in our area.
As we’re walking, I’m pointing out weeds, trees and bushes with stuff that can be eaten. My wife HATES this, but I can’t help myself!
I’d never taken this path before, and was amazed at how much wild food was so close by. Walnuts, sage, cattails, wild garlic. Lots of birds and squirrels in a pinch, too.
One of the creeks had some kids fishing in it. I could tell that there wasn’t enough water for fish of any size, but it looked perfect for crawdads. Sure enough, they had a big ol’ bucket of crawdads ready for the boiling pot.
As a kid, we used to catch them, and sell them to this old barber who used them for bass fishing. I was always looking to make a buck, even back then!
Anyways, my wife and I are about half way through our walk on this path with some old rose bushes, and I spy these –
I told her I knew they were high in vitamin C, and there was something about hairs, but I forgot what it was. I plucked these, got home and did some reading.
After the rose gets pollinated, the petals fall off, and the rose hip is the fruit that remains. Who knew?!
They are indeed high in vitamin C. During World War II, in fact, the Brits encouraged their citizens to make a syrup from the hips, as the ships with vitamin C-rich citrus were being sunk by the Germans.
The hairs really are something about which to worry. When you cut them open, you’ll see the rose seeds, and these tiny, white hairs. You don’t want to consume either of these. They can irritate your mouth, and are actually used to make the gag-gift, Itching Powder!
The hairs are easily removed by just scraping them out of the inside.
The ones in the picture above had an apple-like taste. They reminded me very much of the skin on a Granny Smith apple. Both sweet and tart.
So, what are some of their uses? Lots of things!
1. Eatin’ ’em raw. This kid shows you what the hairs look like, and how to get them out of the hips –
2. A Spot Of Tea. Before reading up on the rose hip syrup from World War II, I had only heard about making them into a tea.
Here’s how you do that –
3. Old School Syrup. This fellow has an old, WWII recipe for the syrup. Seems easy enough.
In doing my research, I’ll note that many of the recipes call for you to boil down the syrup to make it thicker. Your call.
4. Get Jiggly With It. The same guy shows us how to make a natural rose hips jelly. Mix equal parts rose hips and apples – to extract the natural pectin – and you’ve got jelly!
5. Wine. Since virtually anything with natural sugar can be made into an alcoholic beverage, why not Rose Hips Wine?
Note that the process takes two years.
It better be damned good for that long of a wait!
6. All Oily. And finally, a skin and beauty product.
Supposedly, rose hips are also high in anti-oxidants, so who am I to mock?!
Here’s a Rose Hips skin oil video –