We’ve had great fun making rosehip syrup this year. Actually Gary may argue that he didn’t enjoy the picking process at all, but I assured him that it was a case of ‘no pain, no gain’, before i went off to pick blackberries instead. I’d recommend the use of protective gloves, they really don’t want you to pick them.
Since I mentioned it people have asked me over on the English Country Cooking Facebook page what you use it for. That was when I realised how little used and known this gem has become over the years. There’s a list of ways to use Rosehip syrup at the bottom of this post and as we experiment I’ll keep adding to the list.
I remember being given it on rice pudding at school; one of few fond school memories I can tell you.
Some background information on Rose hips.
Rosehip syrup is extremely rich in Vitamin C, possibly one of the richest plant sources of it, with a reputation for keeping colds at bay.
Are you old enough to remember being given a teaspoon of rosehip syrup every day? It was a regular thing in households across England, at one time. It became popular in war-time Britain, when fresh fruit was in short supply, but fell out of favour with protests about what the sweetness was doing to children’s teeth. It is sweet but as long as dummies aren’t being dipped in it, it’s probably less harmful than sweets and its good for you.
You can still buy it, I see, having had a quick look on the interwebs. You won’t find it on the shelves at the supermarket though, you’d need to go to a health food store or buy online.
But beware because commercially made rosehip syrup is often fortified with lab-made vitamin C because of what is destroyed in the processing. So proof, if it was needed, that home-made has the edge on mass-produced anything, and while it takes a bit of effort, and pain in the picking of them, its well worth it. We’ve just got the one bottle this year, but next year we’ll be making loads of this.
- 1 KG rosehips,
- 1.25ltrs water,
- Approx 500g castor sugar,
You will need a couple of bottles which have vinegar-proof lids or stoppers for this, the fruit acids don’t mix well with metal. Wash them well in hot soapy water, rinse and then sterilise them for use by putting them on a tray in the oven on a low heat to dry out and heat through. I use the simmering oven on the AGA, on a conventional oven you’d be looking at a temperature of around 120C/240F/Gas 1-2.
Top and tail the rosehips. Give them a good wash, then put them into a food processor or blender and blitz. This is best done in batches. Alternatively you could mince them. Put the resulting mush into a large stainless steel saucepan and add the water.
Bring the water to boiling point, then turn the heat down (on the AGA switch to the left hand plate) and allow the rosehips to simmer for about 15 minutes.
For the next step you’ll need either a double layer of muslin or we used a jelly bag for straining the pulp. You need to support this over a large bowl in order to strain the liquid. The idea is to catch all the irritant hairs, which believe me you really don’t want in there. We used an upturned stool to support the jelly bag over a large bowl, very Heath Robinson, but it worked a treat.
Let the mushy pulp drain for a good while, at least half an hour, to get as much rose hip juice as possible.
Tip the mush out into your compost bin before washing the muslin or jelly bag out and repeating the straining process one more time.
Next you need to carefully measure the juice with a measuring jug into a large saucepan. For every 500ml of liquid you have, you need to add 325g sugar.
Put the pan on a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Now bring it to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. If any scum forms, skim it off with a slatted spoon.
Take your, now sterilised, bottles from the oven and decant the syrup into the bottles and seal immediately.
When the bottle have cooled you can label them.
Your rosehip syrup is now made and ready for use. You’ll need to use it up within four months, so it is a good idea to make a note of the date on the labels, and once it’s opened do be sure to keep it in fridge.
Serving Suggestions for Rosehip Syrup:
Some ideas for using your rosehip syrup:
- Use as a cordial diluted with five parts water,
- Use as an alternative to maple syrup on pancakes or waffles,
- Add a couple of teaspoons to rice puddings or porridge,
- Add to porridge before adding some grated apple or berries for a lovely breakfast,
- Use in cocktails – a spoonful in the bottom of a glass of champagne is delightful,
- Pour over ice cream for a lovely desert or,
- Add to ice cream in the last stages of making for a rose hip ripple ice-cream (just thought of that while writing this – looks like I’m making more ice-cream now doesn’t it!)
- Use to sweeten plain yoghurt – giving a nice dose of vitamin C as you do so
And if you can’t use if all up in four weeks of opening, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze – then its easy to take out and use.
Actually, the more I think about it, adding rose hip ice cubes to glasses of champagne or wine sounds like a really nice idea!