Yesterday I walked along a local hedgerow with Faye Hatcher looking for seasonal remedies. The interview will be broadcast on her BBC Radio Gloucestershire lunch time show over the next couple of days.
One of the seasonal fruits we came accross was that of the wild rose, also known as dog rose (Rosa Canina) and I mentioned making rosehip syrup. With 20x the amount of vitamin C weight per weight as oranges rosehips are really valuable as a tonic, especially at this time of the year with all the colds and flu starting to make an impact. Being antiviral and antibacterial a few teaspoons of syrup mixed in warm water can really help shake the snivels quickly and soothe a sore throat.
To make the syrup first collect some rosehips this is best done after the first frost of the season as this will help soften the fruits skin making it more permeable. Give the rosehips a quick rinse and then mince them finely, you can do this in a food processor. For 1kg (2lbs) of hips get a pan of 1.75 (3 pints) of water boiling. Add the hips and bring it back up to the boil. Then leave the mixture to stand for 15 minutes before draining through a jelly bag, you could also drain through a clean tea towel or even a pair of tights! While the liquid drains through bring another litre (1.75 pints) of water up to the boil and once all the liquid has drained out put the mashed hips into the new pan. Repeat the process, bringing the mixture back up to the boil and then leaving to stand for a further 15 minutes before draining again.
Now you can discard the mashed hips and you are left with quite a large quantity of orange liquid. You may want to pour all this through the jelly bag one last time to be sure all of the fine hairs inside the hips have been caught and discarded as they can be very irritating if any get through.
Now simply add 750g (1.6lbs) of sugar to the liquid and bring it to the boil. You can boil it for a short while to reduce it slightly, but make sure you have stirred well and that all the sugar has dissolved.
Now all you need to to is bottle the liquid in glass jars. I recommend using a few small or medium jars/ bottles rather than just one or two large ones, as once each bottle has been opened it will need to be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks. The unopened jars can be stored in a cool dark place until needed but make sure to clearly label them so you don’t forget what treasure awaits inside!!
This syrup is so sweet and delicious many people don’t even wait until they are sick and just enjoy using it for its taste, which also means kids like the taste too, a bonus when it comes to herbal remedies!!
So have a go, there are plenty of hips still around and will be well into November. Plus you never know what else you may find whilst perusing the hedgerows…