Posts Tagged ‘Growing Fruit’

What do apples, quince, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and almonds have in common? They are all in the rose (Rosaceae ) family, and just like all their cousins, roses have edible fruit. If you don’t deadhead your roses they will produce red, orange, purple or black fruits which are known as a hips or haws. Rose hips can be smaller than a pea or as large as a cherry tomato. 

Rose hips are one of the richest sources of vitamin C known. During World War 2 vitamin C syrup was made from rose hips because citrus fruits were almost impossible to find. These days the easily made sweet and spicy syrup is very good on vanilla ice cream or pancakes.

Rose hips can cost as much as $25.00 per pound in health food stores, which is more than the price of a rose bush, so it is worth growing your own. The best rose hips for harvesting are found on Rosa rugosa, named for the wrinkled (rugose) surface of its leaves. The very tough Rosa rugosa is also called shrub rose, landscape rose, salt spray rose, old fashioned rose, or wild rose. The white, yellow, pink or purple blossoms can be single, semi-double, or double and are very fragrant. The 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inch blossoms appear at the ends of very prickly, 3-4 foot stems from June through frost. The best time to harvest rose hips is after the first frost because frost removes some of the tartness. Choose fruit that is firm and has good, deep color.

Fresh or dried rose hips can be used in many recipes, including a tea that is very soothing for a sore throat. Many recipes are easily found on line or in herbal cook books. No matter how they are used, the seeds inside rose hips should always be removed before use because they have a hairy covering that can be irritating. To prepare, trim the stem and blossom ends from the fruit and cut them in half, then remove the seeds. Most recipes call for boiling and straining the fruit so this will remove any seeds that were missed during cleaning.  Aluminum pans and utensils should not be used because they will react with and discolor the rose hips.

To Dry Rose Hips: Prepare as above and dry on screens in single layers. Allow good air circulation. When completely dry store in tightly closed containers.

Rose Hip Tea:  Cover and boil 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried hips per pint of water for 10-15 minutes in a glass or stainless steel pan. If whole fresh hips are used, after they have expanded and split, carefully strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any seeds. Add sugar, honey or a mint sprig.

One final note: Birds love rose hips and rose blossoms attract bees and butterflies.



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