There’s an old rosebush in one corner of our raspberry patch. It’s very, very thorny, grows like an awkward, gangly teenager, and to be honest, I really don’t like it. One year I cut it all the way down to the ground, hoping it might grow back fresher and more gracefully. Nope – the teenager came back, all legs and arms sprawled everywhere. Sigh. I’d dig it up completely and be done with it… except for one saving grace. It’s got hips!
After the flowers are done blooming, the hips expand and billow out, much like mine at Thanksgiving. Once they turn red (not my hips, the roses), I harvest them all. If I had been foraging in the wild, I’d only take a reasonable portion. Always leave more than you take when foraging. But this particular rose is in our yard, and seems to thrive on abuse, so I grab all the hips.
After giving them a bath, I cut the tops and stems off close to the hip, and slice them in half. Oh, no, the awkward teenager has returned again. Inside the hips, there’s lots of nubby seeds and a weird furry, hairy substance that makes me want to nag, “Get a haircut!” Now comes the hard work. With a tiny metal measuring spoon, or a paring knife, I dig out all the seeds and try to remove as much of the fur as I can (which isn’t much, that stuff doesn’t like to let go). Eh, as long as the seeds are out, I’m content.
All that’s left to do after the de-seeding is to give the hips a rough chop and dry them. I’ll use my Excalibur Dehydrator on a very low temperature setting so as not to harm the hips abundance of Vitamin C. I’ve had my machine for eons, have run tons of fruit and vegetables through it, and it still runs like a champ. My model is still available even after all these years, and I highly recommend it.
You can use any rose hips that have turned red or orange, and have NOT come from a plant treated with any sort of chemical. Finding wild rose hips is a favorite among foragers. If you forage beyond your backyard, remember to always leave some for nature to use as she originally intended.
To make rose hip tea, put a couple teaspoons of the dried hips into a small saucepan, add a couple cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and serve.