One of the joys of autumn is spotting the jewel-like scarlet rosehip berries in the hedgerow, just waiting to be picked.
Rosehips are fantastic little powerhouses of good things – packed with Vitamin C, skin-saviour Vitamin A and B1, which boosts heart health. And for glowing skin, look no further - the oil from crushed and pressed rosehip seeds is wonderful used as a facial serum applied before bed.
Rosehips are also packed full of antioxidants and they are anti-inflammatory meaning that it can be used to ease sore joints, either by massaging seed oil in neat or blended (it’s quite pricey to buy the seed oil so it’s often mixed with coconut oil or shea butter to make it go further).
If you’re never tried it, homemade rosehip syrup is sticky, sweet and delicious, as well as being a fantastic immune-booster as we head toward cold and flu season!
How fiddly is it?
Not very! You can use any rose hips for the recipes, but if you’re foraging in hedgerows it’s likely you will be picking the dog rose (Rosa canina) or the denser hedging rose (Rosa rugosa). They both have simple, single pink flowers but you can tell them apart by the stems - rugosa will have prickly stems while the dog rose has traditional thorns.
This month marks 76 years since the Ministry of Food first organised National Rose Hip collections in the countryside, enlisting the WI, Scouts and Guides to collect the hips in their thousands. Oranges and citrus fruit, the normal sources of Vitamin C, were in short supply because of the war and rosehips were the answer.
In 1941, a whopping 34 MILLION rosehips were picked and turned into syrup, which was sold the following year as National Rose Hip Syrup by the Ministry of Health as “a useful wartime substitute for orange juice and a distinct improvement on blackcurrant syrup.”
Here’s how to make your own:
ROSEHIP SYRUP RECIPE
1 litre of water 500g of rosehips 300g sugar (if you want darker-coloured syrup use brown sugar)
Method: Boil the water. Blitz the rosehips in a food processor, and add to the boiling water. As soon as it comes back to the boil, turn off the heat and pop the lid on, leaving for 20 minutes. Pour through a sterilised muslin bag, and allow it to drip through (don’t squeeze it, or it will go cloudy and you will get pith in it. Return the mix to the pan, add 500 ml of water, and boil again. Remove and leave for another 20 minutes, before straining through the bag. Put all the liquid onto the hob again, and reduce the liquid by half before adding the sugar and stirring until dissolved. Pour into sterilised bottles or you can put into an ice cube tray and freeze once cooled.
How to use: Take a spoonful a day OR spoon into yoghurt OR warm over ice-cream OR make a lovely hot drink with two spoonfuls in a cup of hot water, with some honey.
ROSE HIP TEA You can also drink rose hip tea. As well as vitamin C, you’ll also be getting more Vitamin A into your system, which is great news for your skin. It helps to speed up skin cell renewal, heal scars and keeps skin nourished and hydrated – which means fewer wrinkles. Hurrah.
TOP TIPS The seeds and fluffy pith inside used to be used as itching powder, so make sure to scrape them away if you’re making rose hip tea as they are an irritant. You don’t need to worry about it with syrup because you are sieving it.