Rosehips are from the same family of fruit as apples and this widely available autumn hedgerow treasure is used to make a syrup with a uniquely floral and fruity flavour.
As a child, my sister and I were given a spoonful of rosehip syrup every day. You could buy it then in small bottles from the chemists. Children in those days were given a daily spoonful of rosehip syrup at the start of winter. It tasted wonderful. We were told that it would keep winter colds away and it probably did, as it is a good natural source of vitamin C. It also contains vitamins A, D and E, and a variety of antioxidants.
Rosehips can be gathered from September right through until late November. They are easy to pick and for this recipe don’t even have to be separated from their stalks or topped and tailed as only the juice is used. There are many varieties of rosehips as there are many varieties of rose. I used a mixture as I found that some are sweeter and have a better flavour than others.
Early hips make delicious jelly or tea, but when the rosehips are softened by November frosts, they are best used to make the syrup. I plan to make lots of it, give a few bottles away to friends and family who are laid up with bad colds, but keep a giant batch to guzzled by us throughout the winter. It tastes too good just to be used for medicine!
Rosehip Syrup Recipe
(Use roughly these proportions)
4 pts of water
2 lbs of rosehips
1lb of white granulated sugar
- Sterilise a couple of bottles and vinegar-proof screw-tops or stoppers by washing, rinsing and putting them on a tray in a low oven (at 120°C/Gas 1⁄2) for 15 -20 minutes.
Roughly chop the rosehips in a food processor in batches, then transfer to a large saucepan and add the water.
- Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for around 15 minutes.
- Strain through a jelly strainer or muslin, letting the pulp sit until all the juice passes through.
Measure the rosehip juice into a large saucepan.
- For every 2 pints, add one pound of sugar.
- Heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes, skimming off any scum if necessary.
- Decant immediately into the prepared bottles and seal.
- Label the bottles when cooled.
- Use within 4 months and refrigerate once opened.
As well as medicine, this syrup is delicious drizzled over porridge, pancakes, drop scones or french toast. You can also use it to sweeten plain yoghurt or trickled on top of hot or cold rice pudding or ice cream.