Harvest rose hips from wild or cultivated rose plants and use them in tea.
Last week, we talked about growing wild roses and how to collect their petals to make tea. This week, let's talk about rose hips. They're yummy food, too!
Rose hips, also called rose haws, are the bright-red fruit of rose plants both tame and wild. They are super high in vitamin C and a good source of vitamins A, B, E and K, as well as calcium, iron and phosphorous. They're usually round, but some wild roses, like the Nootka Rose, grow oblong hips instead.
Collect wild rose hips from mid-summer to the dead of winter, depending on where you live, when they're firm but just a tiny bit soft. That means they're ripe, and the riper the rose hip, the sweeter it will be. Never eat rose hips straight from the plant without removing the stem, blossom end and especially the seeds. The seeds have two prongs on them that can lodge in a human's intestines and cause big trouble. Ouch!
It's best to take rose hips home to clean them. Snip off the stem and blossom ends with scissors, then wash them with cold water and set them aside to dry. When the rose hips are dry, slit them down one side and remove the seeds with a sharp knife. Cleaned rose hips stay good in the refrigerator for about one week, or you can freeze them. To do that, arrange rose hips in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. When they're frozen, transfer them to freezer bags or containers. They'll stay good in the freezer for up to two years.
You can also dry rose hips. Clean fresh rose hips and spread them on a tray. Place it in a well-ventilated room for several days or a 140-degree-F oven for a few hours until they're crisp. Then you can store them whole or grate or powder them and store them in a clean, sealed container.
Use dried rose hips to make yummy tea! Crush them as finely as possible with a blender or mortar and pestle. Place 1 tablespoonful of pieces or powder in a teapot and fill it with boiling water. Let it steep for at least five minutes, and add a dash of lemon or honey if you like. Yum!
There are lots of other great ways to use rose hips, such as in rose hip jelly or jam or as candied rose hips. Type “rose hip recipes” into your favorite Internet search engine to find one you’d like to try.
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