Roses have enthralled humans for thousands of years with their exotic beauty, alluring smell and of course their prickly thorns. They hold a certain mystical history.
Many of the hybrids we see today are accredited to Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, whom adored them. Roses were highly prized by the Greeks and Romans. They have been found entomed with the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
Historically roses have provided an important food source and medicinal qualities. Today most roses are grown primarily for their beauty, but The Okanogan ate the flower buds but not the hops and used the thorns as fish hooks. The Athabascan reportedly placed the thorns in the center of warts, which were said to disappear within a few days. All interior Salish used the baldhip rose species widely for medicinal and spiritual purposes.
Besides being beautiful and delicious, rose hips are high in Vitamin C. It is said that three rose hips have more Vitamin C than a whole orange. They are also high in potasium, Beta Carotine and Niacin.
Harvest the rose hips after they are bright red and have gone through at least one frost. Be sure to leave some hips behind on each bush you gather from to ensure there is plenty for the birds and other animals that graze on the hips. Be cautious of havesting along roadsides to avoid areas that have been sprayed with harmful pesticides. Roses grown for commercial uses should be highly suspect.
- Rose Petals and Hips Recipes
Rose Hip Honey
Gather and freeze rose hips. Once frozen, remove all the seeds from the pulp and fill a glass jar with the pulp. (discard seeds.) Fill the jar with honey and let sit on the counter for about three days. I turn my jar upside down every day. For long term storage keep in the refridgerator. Enjoy on toast, pancakes or in teas.
Rose Petal Honey
Gather Rose Petals when they are in full bloom and look vibrant. Fill a glass jar with the petals and cover with honey. Stir well and refill if necessary. Turn it upside down a couple times a day and it should taste heavenly by about the third day. Spead on toast, pancakes or use in tea.
Rose Hip Syrup
Here is another way to get your vitamin C ~
Gather and rinse well. Remove any stems or flower remnants from the rose hips. Place cleaned rose hips in a measuring cup. Bring two cups of water to a boil and add two cups of rose hips. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the water has been reduced by half. You can also add different spices to the boiling mixture. My favorites have been whole cloves, whole allspice, and cinnamon sticks. Allow to cook slightly and then strain through a jelly bag. Add one cup of honey (or to taste) to the liquid. Stir until combined and place in a glass jar to be stored in the refridgerator. Enjoy this special treat as you would maple syrup.
Using the Rose Hip Syrup as a base, you can create all sorts of yummy concoctions.
Rose Hip Sorbert
After making the syrup place the liquid in a glass container and allow to cool. You can add a couple tablespoons of alcohol to the mixture to keep it from freezing too hard. This can be as simple as vodka or a special liqueur. After the mixture is cool, cover and place in the freezer for several hours.
Rose Hip Cordial
After making the syrup, add a half part brandy to the mixture. Allow to cool and then bottle. This gets better with age.
Kali S Winters