Every year at about this time we make rose hip syrup. The whole family enjoys it, whether drizzled over pancakes or taken by the spoonful for a healthful vitamin C boost. Easily harvested with a small twist, the rose hip is actually the fruit of the rose, and develops as a red, roundish seed pod after the flowers drop off. You can use the hips off of your garden roses, as long as they are not sprayed with any pesticides, or you can forage for wild rose hips in the late summer through autumn.
Rose hips are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C known, and I like to give a spoonful to each member of our family in leu of vitamin tablets. This recipe also uses the petals of the rose. It's optional, but I love the extra complexity of taste they bring to the syrup. Honey is another main component of the recipe, and is another one of our favorite medicines. We use it on cuts and scrapes, to soothe a sore throat, and as an ingredient in cough syrups, face masks, and many other important products in our household. It is antimicrobial, making it an excellent preservative, and it also contains important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
You can order dried rose hips from reputable online companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs, but if you use fresh, as we do, first you will need to prepare them. With a sharp knife, cut each rose hip lengthwise, scraping out the seeds and fine hairs and reserving the fruit. Once all the fruit is cleaned and de-seeded you are ready to begin. If you'd like to make your syrup extra special, fill a small jar with rose petals (you can cut them up if they are fresh, or use a mortar and pestle to grind them up a little if they are dried) and cover the petals with brandy. Cover the jar, shake, and let it infuse for 24hrs up to a month or more. When you are ready to make your syrup, strain out the petals reserving the brandy.
To make your syrup you will need:
- 4c filtered water or rainwater
- 2c cleaned rose hips (or 1 and 1/4 dried)
- a splash of rose petal-infused brandy (plain brandy also works just fine)
- a handful of fresh or dried rose petals (optional)
- 1 to 2c honey, depending on preference
1. Place the water and rose hips in a sauce pot and simmer until reduced by 1/2.
2. Turn off the heat, add rose petals (optional), cover, and let steep 5-10 minutes.
3. Strain out and compost the solids, reserving the liquid. Return liquid to pot.
4. Add honey and brandy to the pot, and stir until combined. Pour your syrup into sterilized bottles and keep in a cool, dry place or the fridge.
Any leftover rose hips can be cleaned and dehydrated, then stored in a glass jar with a tight lid. You can use these in your tea, or to make more syrup next time.