Seasonal Spotlight: Rose Hips

At the end of the year, when the petals have long since withered off the roses, bright red berries emerge where the flowers once were. They remain through the fall and in the winter, their color peeking out through snow and frost. Birds and other animals eat them in the winter; so can you.

Rose hips are basically the enlarged ovaries of the rose flowers. They're particularly high in vitamin C, and can be used to make wine, tea, soup, and jam. Rose hips have more antioxidants than blueberries and contain a lot of iron as well.

If you want to pick your own rose hips, select bushes that have not been sprayed with pesticides. Pick the berries after the first frost. If they are soft and mushy, do not eat them. Never bring them in contact with metal pans or utensils unless they are stainless steel. Always remove the seeds before consuming; they are coated with tough hairs that we cannot digest, and when passed through the system, give us what the Aborigines call "itchy bottom disease." The French call rose hips "gratte-cul," which means "butt scratch." You get the picture.

Here are some recipes to try:

Rose Hip Jelly
Rose Hip Soup
Rose Hip Crumble Pie
Caramel Apple Tart with Rose Hip Puree
Rose Hip Puree

(Image: Riana Lagarde)