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Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant. If you have rose bushes in your garden, and you managed not to deadhead all of the flowers, you will be able to see red-colored berries on the ends of the stems where the flowers once were.
You may also have noticed tiny rosehips dangling from wild rose plants when you have been out on hikes. Wild rose plants tend to grow along roadsides, hedgerows, and clearings.
Rosehips from wild and cultivated rose plants are edible and medicinal but come with different potencies. If you are going to use cultivated rosehips, be sure that no poisonous chemicals were used in their cultivation and research the type of rose bush you have for culinary and medicinal advice. Likewise, if you are foraging wild rosehips, be aware of your surroundings and steer clear of rose plants in industrial areas, near railways, or along heavily trafficked roads.
Rosehips are very nutritious with a 16g serving of wild rosehip providing 4% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 3% DV of Vitamin B5, 6% DV of vitamin E, and a whopping 76% DV of vitamin C. For this reason, they have long been used in herbal medicine for their immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.
Rosehips are members of the apple and crabapple family and share a strong resemblance. They have a tart flavor like that of hibiscus. They can also be a little sweet and retain a floral flavor, too. This makes them wonderful in tea and homemade jams.
For this article, we are going to look at foraging and using wild rosehips, though there are opportunities to purchase rosehips online or at health food stores at your convenience.
How to ID Rosehips
Rosehips are small berries that grow from the end of rose stems. They can be round or egg-shaped and are usually red. Although, they can also be orange or have a purplish color, too. You will know that you have found a rose plant when you locate the curved thorns that grow alternately all along the stems of the plant.
At the end of the rosehip, you will be able to see remnants of the flower petals that once bloomed there, just as you would on an apple.
Where to Find Wild Rosehips
Some wild roses, like the multiflora, grow vine-like while others, such as the Virginia Rose, stay shrub-like. Both are likely to take over the sides of forests, hedgerows, hiking trails, and roadsides—in short, disturbed areas. They are very easy to spot in the summer when they are in full bloom, but the bright rosehips help to make them stand out in the autumn and winter.
When to Find Them
Rosehips appear once the flower has naturally dropped its petals. Around the beginning of autumn and long into the winter (depending on the harshness of your winter) is when you should be able to spot them. The best time to forage for them is after the first frost. It is thought that the first frost helps to sweeten their flavor.
How to Harvest Them
Choose hips that have a bright strong color. Try to choose ones that are still firm and not too smooshy. Leave any older, blemished, or wrinkled ones behind; they will still be enjoyed by the birds. You can pick rosehips straight from the plant or use some hand clippers. It might be worth wearing gardening gloves, too, as that beautiful bush can be pretty vicious if you get tangled up together. The hips that you pick can be dried, frozen, or used immediately.
What to Do with Your Rosehips
One of the easiest things to make with your rosehips is a cup of rosehip tea. The hips can be used fresh, and you can use the whole fruit, seeds, and all! You can even make a large batch and keep the tea in the fridge for reheating later.
To make rosehip tea use one tablespoon of rosehips per cup of water. It is best to quickly whizz up or mash your rosehips before adding them to boiling water. Let them steep for at least 20 minutes.
There is also an option to dry your rosehips so that you can have them on hand throughout the year. You can dry the hips using a dehydrator set to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 hours, or hang them in a cool dry place to dry naturally. This will method will, however, take weeks, and you will need to keep an eye on them.
Once the rosehips are completely dried, you can put them into a blender and turn them into powder. This can then be kept in a sealed glass jar for the year. To make tea with dried rosehip, use one teaspoon of powder to one cup of water.
You are then free to add your favorite plant-based sweetener.
Never consume a berry unless you are 100% sure that you know what it is. Ask local experts and consult foraging guides, books, and groups relevant to your area.
- Tips on Foraging for Berries
- Growing an Edible Flower Garden: Which Blooms to Include
- Blackberries and Raspberries: Health Benefits and Foraging Tips
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