Roses may bloom in summer, but their rosehips will serve you well past the warm months. These little red gems contain 50% more vitamin C than an orange! Unfortunately, many people don’t seem to know their benefits (or even what a rosehip looks like). While I was out collecting rosehips from local rosebushes (they grow in a park in my neighborhood), people were looking at me like I had five heads. That didn’t stop me though, and it shouldn’t stop you! If you have your own rosebush, or know of local rose bushes, here are 3 ways to use their versatile fruit.
1. Collect Rose Seeds
- Once you gather your rosehips and take them off the bush, you’re going to have to clean them off before you do anything else. If you know the rosehips are from organic rose seeds, and grown without pesticides, you can simply wash them off with water. However, since I gathered them from local sources I made sure to use a fruit and vegetable wash to get rid of any potential dirt, pesticides, or pollutants they might have absorbed.
- Since you’re going to have to open the rosehips anyway (in order to make tea or jam out of them), you’re going to encounter their seeds. Rosehips are filled with rose seeds - seeds you can harvest, germinate, and plant all over again. If you want some extra rosebushes on your lawn, garden, or even in your home, it's fairly simple to extract them.
- Once you’re done washing the rosehips, cut them in half. You’ll see some tiny, oblong white seeds. Just gently pull these out with your fingers. Make sure you have a bowl ready to put them in so you don’t lose track of them (you’d be surprised at how many seeds are in one rosehip – depending on the variety of course).
- When you’re done collecting the seeds, wash them off, then store them in a plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. This will help them germinate. Feel free to label them so you don’t forget what they are. Keep them in the fridge until they germinate – this can take anywhere between 4 – 16 weeks, depending on the rose variation. But once they sprout, it’s time to get planting!
2. Make Rosehip Tea
- Once the rosehips are all cleaned out (no more seeds) and cut in half, it’s time to dry the rosehips. You can do this many ways – leave them out in the sun, use a dehydrator, or bake them in the oven. I like baking them simply because it’s faster (and almost everyone has an oven).
- To bake the rosehips, simply grab a tray and place some parchment paper on it, so the rosehips don’t stick. Lay them out on the paper and place the tray in the oven. Set the oven temperature to 120 degrees C (about 250 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Bake until the rosehips are dried out. Check on them consistently during this process: You don’t want to burn them. They should look shriveled up when they’re done. This process generally takes somewhere between 30-45 minutes.
- Once you take them out of the oven, proceed to blend the dried rosehips in a blender. This will turn them into a fine texture. You can store this powder in an airtight container until ready to use.
- If you want to use it right away, simply add the mixture into a tea diffuser and steep for as long as you like.
3. Make Rosehip Jam
- If you prefer jams to teas (or maybe you’ve harvested enough rosehips for both), then here’s what you’ll need: At least a pound of rosehips, 1 cup of water, and 3 ½ cups of sugar.
- Add the cleaned out rosehips, sugar, and water to a large pan and bring to a boil. You want the mixture to get very soft and mushy looking. Cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary, and make sure to taste test to make sure it’s sweet enough for your liking.
- Since you want the jam to be as clear as possible (without any chunks), you should strain or press the mixture through a sieve.
- Pour into sterilized jars for storage. You can make sure jars are sterile by washing them out with soap and water, rinsing them, and then boiling them for approximately 5 minutes. This isn’t necessary, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your storage containers are as clean as can be.
Whichever way you decide to enjoy rosehips, you can’t go wrong. I recommend harvesting as many rosehips as you possibly can in order to make as many of these treats as possible. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy!