Could gathering rose hips and making your own jelly come back into fashion?
The fruit of the rose, the rose hip, has been used in cooking for many centuries.
The hip is rich in vitamin C and roses have been used as medicine since ancient times. They are closely related to almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, and other fruit
During the 17th Century, Culpeper, prescribed rose hips for ‘consumptive persons’, as well as for ‘tickling rheums’, ‘breaking the stone’ (in the kidneys) and to help digestion. Rose-hips have mild laxative and diuretic properties as well as being of help in the treatment of urinary infections.
During the Second World War, when citrus fruits were scarce, there were State schemes to encourage people to forage for rose hips and many people used them to make syrups and jellies as a substitute for marmalade.
If you enjoy country walks and foraging the best places to find hips are from wild roses, mainly the dog rose, often found alongside canals, and in towns and cities, from Rosa Rugosa, which is very popular as an amenity planting in parks, cemeteries, gardens, around tower-blocks.
They are best gathered in the late autumn when they are fully ripe. They are mostly red in colour but you can find black and dark purple versions. It is best to pick them from the wild or make sure the plants have not been sprayed with pesticides.
We have a recipe, courtesy of simply recipes.com if you would like to try making your own rose hip jelly:
Ingredients for six 8-oz jars
2 quarts rose hips
6 cups water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 package pectin
1/4 teaspoon butter
3 1/2 cups sugar
You will also need a jelly bag strainer or muslin and do not use aluminium or cast iron pans, stick to stainless steel.
To make the jelly:
Rinse and trim the hips and cut in half to scrape out the seeds, then put the hips in a large pan with six cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour (or longer), until rose hips are soft and mashable.
Mash them into a rough puree and strain them using either a jelly bag or fine muslin stretched over a bowl or large pot. Leave to strain for at least an hour then squeeze to get any remaining liquid.
You will need three cups of the juice for this recipe. Add the lemon juice and pectin (to aid setting) and bring to a boil, dissolving all of the pectin.
Add the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter. Bring to a hard boil and boil for exactly one minute. Pour off into your storage jars, leaving a little headspace.
Cultural hints for March 2020
With all the recent storms check any staked standards to make sure that the stakes are still sound. If necessary replace broken or damaged stakes. It can be heart-breaking to lose standards through breakages.
Bare root roses can still be planted throughout March. Depending on the time of supply they will come either unpruned or ready pruned. The roses will be received with full planting, pruning and after care guide. If pruned an additional advice slip will be included. If pruning is needed it is advisable to leave the roses for at least a week after planting before you prune. This helps to get the root system settled.
March is also the main pruning time for all bush and standard roses. Roses planting autumn 2019 onwards should be left until 3rd week in March. Established roses, depending on weather conditions and area you live can be pruned anything from 4th week in February. Ignore the fact that some plants may have started to shoot, still prune very hard.
If you haven’t pruned climbing roses these can also still be pruned and tidied up in March.
After pruning feed with a slow release fertilizer such as Vitax Q4, Vitax Rose Food, Vitax Organic Rose Food or Top Rose