Wild Rose Hips
I’ve long read about the edible and medicinal benefits of rose hips, but I’ve continually been frustrated in my attempts to harvest them. The edible part of the wild rose hip is the red skin. It has a pleasant citrus taste and is high in antioxidants and vitamin-C – an important wintertime supplement prized by both the Native Americans as well as the early settlers.The inside of the rose hip, though, is full of hard seeds and slivers – a sharp, downy material similar to that on the surface of a maple tree seed. In the past, my attempts to separate the insides from the outer skin destroyed most of the skin and left my fingers full of slivers.
A few weeks ago, it finally dawned on me that it may be more effective to clean the husk after giving it some time to dry. This turned out to be quite a good idea. I quartered the rose hips and stored them in an envelope to dry. Every morning I gave the envelope a good shake to help air flow and aid drying.After about a week, the husk was dry and hard. The cap to a ball-point pen made a perfect tool for scraping the inside of the husk. A quick scoop deposited the slivers and seeds into a garbage can. Now the husks were ready for long term storage! This simple drying process is a huge improvement over my efforts to clean fresh rose hips.
Fresh and dried rose hips are often used for tea. Mixed with diced, fresh Grand Fir or Douglas Fir needles (also very high in vitamin-C), it makes an incredibly tasty and healthy tea.
I’ve also seen recipes that used the dried rose hip husk in cookies and muffins. They can typically be used anywhere you’d use raisins or other dried fruit. Their citrusy taste makes them an excellent substitution for lemon or orange zest in holiday recipes.