When rose flowers wither and fall from the plant, they leave behind a little green ball called a rose hip. In late summer those hips swell and turn red, and start to look like berries.
They are not berries, as you will discover if you open one up. Rosehips are full of seeds and what looks like white hair. If eaten raw those hairs will irritate your mouth and throat. Don’t eat those hairs raw. The fleshy part around the seeds and hair can be eaten raw. It has an interesting flavour; depending on the plant and the time of year it can taste like fresh cut grass, or a tomato, or possibly a plum.
Though rose hips can be eaten fresh, they are most commonly made into jelly. They contain little pectin, so the jelly usually contains another fruit, like apple.
adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 2 – Preserves
- 325 g rosehips
- 775 g apples, peeled and quartered (I used windfall apples from my questionable backyard apple tree, removing any severely damaged sections)
- roughly 550 g sugar
Place the quartered apples in a straight-sided pan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the apples soften and turn to pulp.
In the mean time, chop the rosehips in a food processor.
Add the rosehips to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a scalded jelly bag suspended over a bowl. Drain for several hours. After 24 hours I ended up with about 800 mL liquid.
Measure the juice and put it into a pot. Bring to a boil, then add 400 g of sugar for each 600 mL of juice. (My 800 mL of liquid required 533 g sugar.) Stir until completely dissolved, then boil to setting point, 220°F.
After boiling I had roughly 500 mL jelly. Pour into hot sterilized jars.