Rose Hips are also known as rose haw or rose hep, but basically its the fruit of the rose bush, that appears where the flowers once were.
If you have never tried collecting rose hips, be aware the rose plant has thorns which you must guard against. It is recommended that when harvesting rose hips, you plan ahead, and wear long sleeves of a tougher type fabric so as to not be grabbed by the thorns. The worst thorns to be nipped by, in my opinion, are the tiny microscopic ones that torment you for hours since they are hard to see embedded in your fingers or forearms!
I tend to not only wear long sleeved work shirts, but also jeans & gloves when planning to harvest this delicious & nutritious berry. While the rose is a dwarf plant, the prairie has numerous thorny, prickly and thistle type seed heads that are looking for a free ride! So having a good pair of thick pants can help reduce the scratches you may obtain while foraging for this delicacy.
There are numerous types of roses, but my favorite rose to harvest is the wild prairie rose, [Rosa blanda or Rosa arkansana] which is also known by the common names
dwarf prairie rose
prairie wild rose
and is found across the northern prairie. It is so prevalent in some areas, such as North Dakota, that the state made it their state flower.
The wild rose is distributed across a great deal of the North America, as this map illustrates and thus is an ideal source of vitamin C if someone is working to reduce their Carbon footprint
and wanted to reduce their dependence of citrus fruit from southern climates, which is then trucked to northern climates in winter.
Experts state that 3 hips of rose equals one orange, when considering its Vitamin C source.
It is best to locate your wild rose sources in June & July, when they are in full bloom. The Prairie wild rose is a prickly-stemmed native shrub (usually less than 18 inches tall) with pink, five-petaled flowers.
The Prairie rose is not the only rose hip producing rose species. All roses produce hips. Some much larger and some smaller than the prairie rose. The experts say there are between 100 and 150 species of roses with most botanists agreeing that the actual number is probably nearer the lower end of that range.
Another wild rose found in some areas of South Dakota is the Woods' rose [Rosa woodsii]. Unlike the small prairie rose, the Woods' rose is a shrub that often forms large, dense thickets.rose hips, for the various uses such as herbal tea, jam (2), (3), jelly,(2), (3), flour, syrup, soup, beverages, pies, bread, essential oils, and marmalade. Not to mention the flower crop needed to make essential oils & rose water.
If your main interest is obtaining Vitamin C rich hips, the wild hips will be the target for your foraging.
However, if you are like most people the sharp citric acid found in wild hips may be a bit intense. Many people choose to mix both wild hips with domestic rose hips, which have a fruiter taste to them.
Once you have collected your bucket of rose hips, its time to process the hips!
The processing method of hips depends on what you are planning on doing with them. Most methods of processing require that you remove the seeds from the meat of the fruit. This can be done in a couple different ways.
By hand ... by squishing the fresh berry and thus pinching the berry pod apart. Rose hips contain tannic acid in the seeds which cause a chalky taste. So you may want to split hips down one side and knock out seeds, or take pin and push out seeds before cooking for jelly or processing for other food purposes.
using a sieve to separate the seeds & pulp from the juice.
Here is a great series illustrating how to process rose hips traditionally. The beautify of this video is that he is not doing time-lapse video, so you SEE the full extend of the time consuming process. I believe in today's impatient world, perhaps its good to see this so there is no illusion as to the task at hand. I am therefore going to post all of the serious regarding the processing of rose hip syrup that this series posted.
There are numerous blogs too talking about Rose Hips' uses. I've tried linking several of them to this blog by hyperlinking words here and there. So please take the time to click on the highlighted words & see just how many recipes you can find for using this wonderful multi-vitamin of beauty. Rose Hip tea alone is toted as having the following health benefits:
Rosehip tea has antibacterial, anti-viral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Due to its anti-aging properties, the tea heals tissues and cells.
The tea fights cell damage caused by free radicals, tones the organs and regenerates cells.
The phyto-chemicals present in rosehip tea prevent cancer and cardiac problems. It is a tonic that can invigorate and refresh a person and also increase his energy level.
The nutrients present in the tea boost immunity and health.
The vitamins contained in rosehip tea ensure vitality and longevity.
Rosehip tea prevents colds and viral infections.
It cleanses the respiratory tract and clears mucous congestion; thus, easing breathing.
The tea is also helpful in minor ailments, like urinary tract infections.
It prevents stress and acts as an anti-depressant, due to its calming effect.
Rosehip tea is good for hormone regulation, skin hydration and circulation.
The tea is recommended by medicine practitioners for relieving nausea, headaches, menstrual cramps, kidney and bladder infections, diarrhea and dizziness.
The pectin present in rosehip tea helps in relieving constipation, cleansing the intestines and lowering cholesterol.
It is used for treating disorders like allergies, asthma, bronchitis, etc.
Rich in flavonoids, rosehip tea helps in strengthening the body’s capillaries.
It fights dysentery and strengthens the stomach.
So with such a powerful medicinal and food at our doorstep, why not take a fall evening processing rose hips with friends & family?