Rosehips 101: The How, The When and The Why
From rosehip oil to rosehip capsules, rosehips seem to be all the craze lately. I am pleased that local herbs and wild fruits are getting into the spotlight. At this time of the year, rosehips are like beaded garlands on bushes that are shedding leaves in preparation for the winter sleep.
So forget about baobab powder and other imported preparations, that huge companies would like you to believe to be vital for your natural health. Instead, go for a relaxing autumn walk and benefit from the beautiful and beneficial superfood that grows on your doorstep for free. Rosehips contain high levels of vitamin C. One hundred grams of rosehips has 426mg of vitamin C. For comparison, one hundred grams of peeled lemon has about 53mg of vitamin C. That's almost ten times more than lemon, gram for gram! They also contain high levels of antioxidants, Vit. E and various beneficial fatty acids.
Rosehips have been used in traditional medicine to treat various stomach disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes and to boost immunity. The high level of vitamin C makes rosehips great for the treatment of urinary infections. In medical studies, rosehips have been effective in the treatment of rheumatic disorders, in particular ostheoarthritris.
To collect rosehips, look for wild rose bushes with fruits that are bright red and firm, but not stone-hard. (If they are very hard, it means they are not ripe yet) While all kinds of rosehips are edible, for the best nutritional benefit, avoid picking rosehips from cultivated garden roses. Wild rosehips are more tasty, nutritious and, most importantly, you can be sure that they have not been treated with pesticides. Can’t tell the difference? Wild roses have flat flowers in late spring and early summer. In autumn, they produce rosehips that are barrel-shaped and 2-3 cm long. Cultivated garden roses have full flowers and will often produce significantly larger rounded decorative rosehips. Depending on where you live, rosehips are usually ready for picking from September onwards.
When I talk about eating rosehips, I am referring to their flesh. Inside every rosehip, there are seeds and tiny hairs that need to be removed. The small hairs can be really irritable on the skin, let alone your mucosas when eaten (Warning: Don’t put rosehip seeds under your T-shirt. Ask me how I know.) I often snack on a few rosehips while out and about and just scrape out the seeds and hairs with my finger. It has never caused me any problem but don’t take my word for it.
Rosehip tea is a well-known drink, but there are many traditional recipes for delicious rosehip condiments -jam, jelly, syrup, even vinegar or soup! Some recipes call for a labour intensive process of cutting the rosehips in half, scraping the seeds out and rinsing the rosehips until no more hairs remain. While other recipes cook the rosehips whole and strain the resulting mass through a muslin cloth.
I am too busy (and ,admittedly, lazy) to spend several hours cleaning rosehips, so I will bring you a fast and easy recipe to enjoy the rosehip goodness! Stay tuned for a delicious Rosehip Vitamin Water Recipe!