All around us here in the woods, autumn is making its presence felt; vivid green leaves are slowly yellowing, robins are singing their melancholy song, acorns are raining down from above and flowers have transformed into colourful, shiny alluring fruits. This last event offers us the opportunity to bottle up a little bit of summer, preserving the energy, warmth and vitality of the season to see us through the cold, dark months ahead.
This weekend we foraged some of our most common fruits and berries from the hedgerows and woodland margins to make an assortment of jams, jellies and syrups. A new one for us was Rose hip Syrup, made from the fruit of the dog rose of which we have in plentiful supply, and we wanted to share the recipe here as it turned out to be delicious and we recommend giving it a try. I think we were a little too keen and our hips perhaps not as ripe as they could be but it still worked pretty good. You can find Rose hips throughout much of winter so we’ll definitely be making more of this when our supplies run low. Rose hips are very high in vitamin C so this is a great natural pick me up as well as being sweet and delicious.
You will need:
Rose hips (from the Dog Rose or Rosa canina)
A muslin cloth or jelly bag
Sterilised glass jars or bottles
Prepare the jars or bottles by washing in hot soapy water and dry them in a warm oven (about 130 degrees for 10 minutes). Roughly chop the hips (they can be tough so a food processor is useful, if you don’t have one a sharp knife will do). Put them in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through the muslin into a bowl or jug and leave for 30 minutes to make sure all the juice is extracted (give it a little extra squeeze with a wooden spoon every now and then). Clean the cloth and strain the liquid through again - this gets rid of all the tiny hairs that are inside the rose hips which cause irritation (they are famously used to make itching powder, so you definitely don’t want them in your syrup!).
Measure the juice and pour back into a clean saucepan. Add equal parts sugar (500ml of juice = 500g of sugar) to the pan. Heat slowly on the hob, allowing the sugar to dissolve then bring to the boil and let it bubble away for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly decant into the prepared jars or bottles.
We also made Blackberry Jelly and Elderflower Syrup, pictured here along with Rose Hip.
As a medicinal remedy you take Rose hip syrup by the spoonful, but so far we have found that it’s delicious on pancakes in place of maple syrup and it makes a great addition to alcoholic beverages. If you make Rose hip syrup then let us know how you use it!