Foraging: Rose Hips & Making Rose Hip Tea
After two weeks of mostly overcast skies coupled with the occasional thunderstorm, I am beginning to feel that the earliest signs of fall are upon us here in Prince George.
Kevin assures me with weather-weary complaints that the heat rages on in the Columbia Valley – but northward, my uncle and I are convinced the summer season is already coming to a close, while fall embarks to envelope us in a cloudy embrace.
A long fall season would be wonderful remembering our past bitterly cold winter winds and having had enough summer heat to keep water reservoirs depleted for several recent weeks. Summer always brings a rush toward green growth and waterside adventures; while autumns vibrant colors and crisp air make me long for evenings spent in big comfy sweaters sipping on hot chocolate (or tea;)) whilst engaged in long conversations.
Among the early stages of the change in seasons are the cooler evenings and falling leaves as the landscape progresses from lush greenery to golden red hues – just like that.
What were roses seemingly days ago have now passed into rose hips, already displaying fall colors, ripening from orange into a deep red.
Most will be left on the plants all winter for the wildlife to enjoy; but I plan to forage a healthy harvest to keep me in tea and jelly throughout the year.
Unlike back home, Prince George is positively abundant with wild roses.
Waiting until after the first frost to harvest will cause the fruit to sweeten further, but I will already be headed home to Columbia Valley before then – and my one little rose plant at home can’t meet the demand.:)
We tend to get more than our fair share of rain in the Columbia Valley as well, which serves to decimate any hanging fruit.
In other words – I’m stocking up on this delicious fruit while I can!
Rose petals and hips from all true roses are edible, they are from the Rosaceae family and are related to apples, cherries, strawberries, and almonds to name but a few.
Rose hips are incredibly high in vitamin C (10 – 20 times that of an orange by volume) and full of antioxidants. It’s often used to help prevent and fight colds and flu.
Be sure to collect hips that have not been sprayed with chemicals. Do not harvest from roadside bushes as they may be coated in vehicle exhaust.
Fresh rose hips can be eaten straight off the plant – but be sure to remove the seeds and ‘hairs’ from inside them.
The seeds are liable to break a tooth, and the ‘hairs’ inside rose hips are used to make ‘itching powder’ – they will cause irritation and you do not want that moving through your system.;)
When used in teas or boiled and strained for the infused liquid only, rose hips can be dried whole; otherwise, cut them in half and remove the seeds and fine hairs.
Foraging and Dehydrating Rose Hips
Rose hips will pull away from the plant very easily, you will not need scissors, but depending on the rose variety you may want to wear gloves.
Prepare the rose hips by twisting off the ends, and removing the insides (depending on how you plan to use them).
Give them a rinse under cold water, pat dry, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
The rose hips can then be left in a dark, well ventilated room to dry (10 days or more), dried in a dehydrator, or oven on the lowest setting.
When they are completely dried, store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
Making Rose Hip Tea
A simple rose hip tea can be made using 1 – 2 tsps. of dried rose hips or 1 – 2 tbsps. fresh rose hips per 1 cup boiled water. Allow hips to steep covered for 10 – 15 minutes, strain, sweeten, and enjoy.
Once rehydrated after steeping for tea, remove the rose hip seeds and eat the fruit for an extra vitamin C boost.
I have some pineapple weed air drying and the scent is so lovely I decided to make a mixed-forage tea.
It made a refreshing and light tea with amazing aromatics.
I didn’t measure anything, instead I opted to throw a few things in a french press in the order I craved them. Adjust at your discretion.;)
Rose Hip Tea Blend
If you are craving a deeper flavored tea, add some of your favorite tea as a base – try hibiscus, green, black, or rooibos, or add fresh/dried currants, blueberries, apple, strawberry or raspberry for fruitier caffeine free blend.
Enjoy the harvest.:)
What is your favorite rose hip tea blend?