You’ve seen them. Those things that look like cherry tomatoes or large berries flirting with you from between the leaves on your rose bushes. Those are rose hips. They form after the rose bloom has died. They’re typically red or orange, but depending on the type of rose bushes you have, they can also be purplish to black in color.
Providing almost 20-times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, rose hips are an incredible source of vitamin C. In addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, they also help to protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
You can use them fresh off the vine, dried, or preserved. They can be used in apple sauce, soups, stews, syrups, puddings, jelly/jam, bread, and pie. My favorite way is to use them is to make rose hip tea. Regardless of how you use them, you’ll need to prepare them first.
Place the hips on a clean surface to dry. When the skin begins to look slightly shriveled it’s time to split the hips in half and remove all the seeds and tiny hairs in the center. After the seeds and hairs are removed, let the hips dry completely. Don’t wait to remove the seeds until the hips are completely dry because it’s harder to de-seed them.
If they’re not going to be used within the week, store the prepared hips in sealed plastic bags and freeze them. If you’re going to use them in the next few days, simply place them in the refrigerator. Somewhat like dried cranberries, they can be eaten as a healthy snack anytime.
Boil the dried and crushed rise hips for about 10 minutes (about 2 tablespoons of berries per pint of water). If the mint in your garden took over like ours did this year, you can add a crushed mint leaf (fresh or dried). Depending on your geographic location, you may even be fortunate enough add a few hibiscus flower petals as well.
If you’re going to add honey, make sure it’s locally grown – this will help to combat allergies.
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
– Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.
Thank you I have never seen a discussion on rose hips, I know that they are used but I did not think they were just garden variety.
I am not sure we have much this year because it was so dry, I hardly remember roses in bloom!
Good morning, Jeff – if you (or your neighbors) have dead roses, there’s a great chance that you’ve got rose hips hiding behind the leaves on the canes. If through lack of water you didn’t even get roses, then I’m not sure if the rosebush would produce rose hips, or not. If Sandi White, Cindy Kellogg, or Beth Weiss are reading this blog/comments, they may well provide an answer.
I didn’t know the part about taking out the seeds and tiny hairs. That is very informative. Probably why I didn’t like them too much the last time I made tea. Will try again!
Kathy – If you tried them before without taking out the seeds and nasty little hairs … oh ick. Give it another go.
Hi, Laurie, actually, roses do like lots of water to bloom. They are some of the plant world’s most demanding divas in that to be the beauty queens they seem to picture themselves to be, they want LOTS of attention. Pruning, feeding, spraying, correct watering, oh, and verbal encouragement. Yes, I do talk to my plants, no, I am not crazy. They may not understand English, but they do comprehend intention, whether good or detrimental. As in, ” Oh, just look at you! You are just glorious today! Let me get my camera!” , yes, roses are extremely vain. Or, ” Listen, you wretch, you thorn in my side, you bony stick! I’m tired of waiting on you leaf and root. You either do something now or you’ll get a pruning you won’t soon forget! I mean down to the ground.” The point I do want to make however, is to watch where you gather your rose hips, make sure not to take them from a public garden where they have most likely been sprayed with God only knows what type of poison, but if you can manage to harvest them wild, or from your own or another’s organically grown garden. Always wash well. Rosa Rugosa is the one rose that has mainly been cultivated for the harvesting of hips, it is the wild rose of Sleeping Beauty fame. Wear gloves, remember what happen to all those suitors! Remember too that the Rose and Apple are of the same family and you can see the similarities as you harvest.
Sandi – I’m so glad you bring up the point of ORGANIC. We only use the rose hips from our own garden and we don’t use any poisons. No wonder your plants do so well, they get the benefit of your comedy routine — they’re cracking up all the time!
Laurie, I just showed this post to my wife Lucille here at school, and I asked her “how these rose hips could be obtained?” She laughed and said that we have some of these in front of our house, though she isn’t sure if the rose hips will be there at this time. I am admittedly impressed with the health benefits and that amazing saturation of Vitamin C. I am thinking they may also be available at either a produce or health food store? Sounds like a miracle food to me.
This is such a wonderful informational and beneficial post!
Sam – As Sandi (Master Gardener) said in this conversation thread, make sure you haven’t sprayed any poisons on your roses (in other words, they’re organic). I haven’t checked with our health food store to see if they carry dried rose hips, or not, but of course most of the vitamin C tablets that are sold today has rose hips included right in it for a significant boost. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you as always for stopping in.
I have 28 roses around my driveway with an abundance of rose hips. I wil cut some off and dry them for delicious tea! Yummy! Thanks for the lovely “tea drinking” tip.
Sheila – With 28 rose bushes around your home, it’s clear that you love roses as much as I do. We have carpet roses (low to the ground that spread out a bit), regular height rosebushes, and climbing roses. I love them all! You should be able to harvest loads of rose hips. If you wait until after our first frost (which they say is coming this week), the rose hips will turn back to a bright red again (as opposed to the orange-red). Enjoy!
What a timely post, Miss Laurie! Last year I planted two rugosa roses in a new rose bed and this fall have the most beautimous rose hips! But I didn’t know what to do with them to access the Vitaman C – now I do…..thanx!
Oh, oh – I was out the other day putting them and my other roses to bed for the winter and there are two perfect miniature red roses blooming! What a lovely treat!
Cindy Lou – I’m so glad you got the rose hip information in time to harvest them. We used to put our rosebushes to bed for the winter too, and then one of the gardeners at my favorite nursery told me that she doesn’t do a single thing except cut the canes back half-way on St. Patrick’s day each year, and dead-head them through the blooming season, but stop dead-heading on Labor Day. She said that gives them a “hearty, wild and wooly” look. We’ve been doing that for the past two years (this will make the third year) and so far, so good. I don’t know your geographic location, I’m an hour north of Chicago where we get some brutally cold wind and weather, but we haven’t lost a rosebush yet.
My mom always made some apple rosehip butter each fall. Very good! The way she made it there was lots of fruit and not much sugar with plenty of Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Like Kathy I never knew how to prepare it for tea either. I think there are still a few left out and about. Wild ones but they will still be good.
Terrill – Your mom’s apple rosehip butter sounds DELICIOUS with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Now you’ve got my mind awhirl with thoughts of how we might incorporate rosehips, cinnamon and nutmeg into our whipped honey butter recipe 🙂
I am going to pass along the instructions and recipe to Jonathan, Laurie. We have some rose bushes (and some of them are still in bloom!). I never knew how rose hips were used and now I do. Thank you.
Barbara – I’m glad you guys will give it a try. As Sandi said below, make sure they’re roses you haven’t used any bug poison on. Have you guys had your first hard freeze yet? If yes, they’ll be a bright red (as opposed to an orange-red). Either way, they’re healthy as all get out!
Hi, Laurie — no pesticides here! We eat just about anything that will grow in his yard. Jonathan and I share environmental souls. He doesn’t even buy mulch. Instead, he rakes the leaves and stores them in the paper bags, and then in the spring, that is our mulch. This season, we have had asparagus, tomatoes, onions, green beans, all sorts of lettuce greens, and it has all be totally organic.
Barbara – I admire anyone who practices environmental stewardship! And the bounty you got from your garden this year sounds delicious — especially the asparagus — I love steamed asparagus!
What an informative post….I think Mike put the Roses to bed last weekend…He is forcasting snow any day….am I really saying that! It was 80 here in North Carolina today!
I would love to taste this, and the benefits sound right downmy alley of ailments!
Kim – Shame on Mike for using the “S” word! Noooooooooooo
Actually this is the first time I’ve ever bedded them down – I tend to be a very lazy gardener come September and usually just leave them be until the spring. This year I raked some leaves around their bases, tossed on some of those wondermous cedar shavings and blessed them with a little prayer for the winter. Not only am I lazy, but I really like the wild, woolly look!
Doesn’t that rosehip butter sound fabulous? Oh – I’m just across the bay from Kathy @ Lake Superior Spirit! Could almost wave at her! My daughter lives in New Lenox, IL – SW of Chicago….I didn’t know you were down in that area.
Cindy Lou – I didn’t realize you were just across the bay from Kathy, you guys must have boulders tied to your feet to keep from being airborne in all this wind. It’s bad here — but it sounds absolutely ferocious where you gals are!
Yep – I’m about an hour (or so) north of Chicago. I’ve never been to New Lenox. Your daughter is probably about the same distance from the Indiana border as we are from the Wisconsin border.