Searching through my fridge for something the other day I found a pot of sunshine I’d completely forgotten about. Tasting it took me right back to the day at the end of last summer when I made it…rosehip syrup!
Oh how that pinky-peach-amber coloured nectar made me so happy! Making something so sweet and pretty from the hedgerow is one of life’s simple pleasures and feels like a little bit of natures magic.
Rosehips can be found in the hedgerows anytime from Spring onwards, but ripen late Summer/Autumn, and are best used for cooking after the first frost. As well as the antioxidant Lycopene rosehips contain vitamins A and E and have 20 times more vitamin C than oranges, even being used on a commercial scale during World War II as a syrup due to shortage of citrus fruit imports!
When used in recipes some people say to remove the tiny hairs from the inside (what makes itching powder) but if you do the ‘double boil’ method there really is no need as they get destroyed in the process.
Rosehips taste kind of like cranberries, or hibiscus, and the syrup like a lightly perfumed honey. You can use this syrup just like you would honey – with hot water and lemon, on granola, drizzled over vanilla ice cream, in pancakes, in cocktails…or just by the spoonful!
- 4.5 pints water
- 2 lb rosehips
- 1 lb granulated sugar
Bring 3 pints water to the boil.
Chop the rosehips using a food processor, add to the water and bring back to the boil.
Remove from the heat and leave for 15 minutes.
Strain through a sterilised jelly bag* or muslin cloth, reserving the liquid.
Put the pulp back in the pan, add 1.5 pints water and bring to boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes.
Strain this again through the jelly bag and let drip through completely (you can squeeze the bag to extract as much juice as possible if you don’t mind the syrup being cloudy)
Put all the juice into a clean saucepan and boil until reduced to 1.5 pints.
Add the sugar, stir to dissolve, then boil for another 5 minutes.
Let cool slightly then put in sterilised bottles* or jars, seal and refrigerate.
The syrup will keep for months but once opened its best to use in 1-2 weeks so a good idea to store in small batches that you can use in this time.
*To sterilise a jelly bag/muslin cloth put in a bowl and pour over freshly boiled water. Leave to drip dry. To sterilise jars and lids wash in hot soapy water, rinse, then put into an oven at 160°c for 10 minutes.