I gave a cup of rose hips to my friend a few weeks ago, her kids had been sick and just couldn’t kick the runny noses, coughs and low grade temps. Today she called wondering if I had more, her kids were well just a few days after high doses of the tea, and now she wanted more for her sisters family.
Last fall the wild woods roses had produced a bumper crop and I set out to gather every single one. Several times during the process I thought I was being greedy, out of control and obsessed with the storage of these beautiful red berries. Now I’m glad I have the abundance so I can help my friends and neighbors.
There are many culinary uses for rose hips. They can be used fresh, dried, or preserved. Rose hips can be used in apple sauce, soups and stews, syrups, puddings, marmalade, tarts, breads, and pie, or made into a jam or jelly.
They are a rich source of vitamin C, by dry weight, rose hips have a higher content than citrus fruit. Rose hips contain high levels of antioxidant flavonoids with known anti-inflammatory properties, making them useful for patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Rose hips are believed to reduce C-reactive protein levels, associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They are most commonly used in the treatment of influenza-like infections, diarrhea, various urinary tract disorders and are a traditional diuretic and laxative. No side effects are known with normal use.
To make herbal teas, boil about 2 tablespoons of the dried or crushed rose hips per pint of water for at least 10 minutes. Like many herbal teas, the flavor is an acquired taste. I recommend stevia if you wish to use a sweetener.
The fruits are best harvested after the first frost, which makes them turn bright red and slightly soft. I pick the stems and ends off then rinse them. I really like spreading them on a wire screen and leaving them for a week or so in the warming oven of my wood cook stove. Natural air drying works well for rose hips as long as they are spread out well. This fall wasn’t cool enough to have the fire going all day so I used the dehydrator. They should be spread in a single layer on a dehydrator tray with a screen, leaving room for the air to circulate. Rotate the trays every few hours to insure uniform drying. I usually leave them in the dehydrator for a couple of days after I have turned it off to be sure they are completely dry before sealing them in a container to eliminate any chance of mold growing.
Years ago, my mom told me only crazy people decorate the pantry. Well, what can I say? My eye is particularly pleased by shelves of glass jars filled with colorful food. Once a bag of beans, legumes or grain is opened, the remainder goes in an old glass jar and is added to the shelf for ‘display’. Rose hips are no exception, into an antique cut glass jar and on display.
Statements above not intended to act as medical advice, nor do they comply with any statements made or approved by the FDA.