Last Saturday my friends and I went foraging for rose-hips in the beautiful Chugach Mountains. It didn’t take long before we found an area full of these beauties. I ate (only the shells) as I picked, as usual.
The rose hip is the fruit of the rose plant. It is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and many other nutrients, and considered to be a super food.
Rose hips can be made into jams, jellies, sauces, teas, or simply eaten raw. The best time to harvest them is from the middle of September through the middle of October. They are at their sweetest after the first frost. If you decide to harvest them, make sure they are organic or wild. Pick the fruit that are bright in color and firm to touch with a little give.
Fresh rose hips have a mildly tart taste to them. To eat them, cut in half, and remove the seeds and hairs. Add them to your salads and smoothies.
The fruit can be preserved to be used at a later time:
Wash the rose hips and discard spoiled ones. Remove the stems and tails.
If you have a dehydrator, dehydrate the fruit at 115-120 F until they are completely dry. Drying time will vary depending on the amount of the rose-hips, weather conditions, and dehydrator itself. It took me 36 hours to dry 5 shelves of the fruit in a medium size dehydrator.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, pat dry, and line them on a towel or parchment paper. Let them air dry in a dark and well ventilated place for about 2 weeks or until completely dry. Once dry the rose hips will become darker in color, and their shells will harden.
Store them in an airtight container or jar.
To get more flavor and nutrients out of the rose hips, process them further in a blender. Process only a week’s worth.
Place the dried rose hips in a blender or coffee grinder. Process until they become grain like, or if you have a powerful blender like Vitamix process them until they have consistency of flour. Store in an airtight container in a dark place.
The hairs inside the shell of the rose hips can be irritating to some people. In this case, halve the fruit, and remove the hairs before drying if you intend on processing them into flour.
How to Make Tea:
2 tbsp fresh, or 2 tsp dry, or 1 to 2 tsp ground or powdered rose-hips
1 cup boiling water
Place the rose-hips in a tea-pot or mug, pour over boiling water. Cover and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively you can steep the whole rose-hips in a Thermos overnight.