Dear folks, this is just a quick one because a lot of other stuff (some medical, some musical) has gotten in the way of writing.
If you have wild roses (as I do in ‘irrational exuberance’ on my property), or any unsprayed, organic roses that are allowed to produce these little pods, you might be overlooking a bountiful harvest of healthy goodness.
These should be picked after the first frost, and they should be firm to the touch. Discard the mushy ones. And remember to leave some for the birds, squirrels and other fellow beings—they feast on these!
This is something you’ll want to do when you have the time to sink in to—even luxuriate in—the process of harvesting and preparing these. Once you do this, I doubt you’ll be tempted to complain about the cost of commercial rose hips. This takes a while! But for a chilly Sunday a couple of weeks after our first frost, I couldn’t have imagined a better project.
Harvest as many as you need for your desired end. What I was after was a cup or two of steaming hot rose hips tea on a Sunday afternoon, so I was able to pick until my fingers began to feel the chill, and then go inside to warm myself and prepare the tea.
Cleaning rose hips is simple but, it must be admitted, tedious. You have to be in the mood. Cut the end off and scrape the seeds and fuzzy stuff inside (the fuzzy stuff is irritating if ingested, so be sure to remove it). You should end up with just the hollow half-moon outer shell. Put those in a small stainless steel saucepan and return the seeds and other stuff to the earth. Here’s a quick video I made to show you how to prepare the little guys.
[TIP] In case you’re tempted to bypass the cleaning and just steep or simmer the whole hips for tea, I might be able to save you some trouble by saying that you’ll probably just end up with hot, unflavored water, with little red pods bobbing around in it. At least that’s what happened to me!
Add 1 cup of water to a tablespoon or so of fresh rose hips. Add more for stronger flavor. I like to start mine in cold water and bring the whole thing up to a boil. I’ve seen instructions that call for steeping, but I’ve found I get the best flavor when I simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy. I like the flavor as is, but add any sweetener you like.
Here’s some good information if you want to pick enough to dry and use throughout the year.