While fall is definitely falling early here in the Colorado Rockies this year – I couldn’t wait for the first hard frost! It finally got cold enough overnight for the bright red rose hips bursting with color on the wild rose bushes to be ready to harvest!
Why wait until the first hard frost? When it frosts, the plant knows winter is approaching and sends all it’s energy into any remaining fruits – because it wants to spread those seeds! – before it goes dormant for the winter. And, if you’ve ever tried harvesting rose hips BEFORE the first hard frost, well, it’s a sticky situation.
Look closely – I did get a couple squishy rose hips! Squish before you pick – ripe and ready rose hips should be hard and pop off easily!
After you’ve spent a sunny late fall afternoon singing to the plants and filling your medicine bag with perfectly ripe rose hips, then what? It depends on what you want to do! While there are so many ways to use these sweet little fruits, eating them raw is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the tiny hairs on the seeds, known to irritate the digestive tract lining. That said, I have seen folks pop a few fresh ones in their mouths and spit out the seeds with no ill effect.
Here are my top 3 favorite uses for rose hips!
Rose hip tea is the easiest way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C! Give your immune system a boost by pouring boiling water over dried and crushed rose hips. Steep 5 to 10 minutes, strain and enjoy!
Rose hip jelly is divine, and packed with vitamin C! And it’s sooooo easy to make, just boil 1 pound of rose hips in 6 cups of water, strain, add 6 cups of sugar, boil down and pour into sterilized jars! The skins of rose hips have naturally occuring pectin, which will help with solidifying, however if you find your jelly is too runny you can always add some powdered pectin, too.
Rose hips add a touch of sweet to my MoRockin’ Spice alongside cayenne, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon peel….I’ll be making a fresh batch again soon!