"Can we make rose hip jelly?" asked my young (10) friend Alden as we walked along the beach bordered by sand dunes covered with beach roses.
"These," she said, pointing to the bright red jaw-breaker sized orbs in the thorny shrubs, "are rose hips. And mom says people make jelly out of them." We were surrounded by thousands of them.
"Sure!" said I. Thank God for the Internet.
A Quick Rose Hip Primer
So, what are rose hips?
They are the seed pods of roses; if you leave the flowers alone to wither on the plant instead of picking them, they will produce rose hips.
Rose hips are edible (as are rose petals), though you want to make sure to pick rose hips only from roses that haven't been sprayed with pesticides. Wild beach roses are perfect, as are dog roses and sweet briars.
Rose hips do not taste like roses. Their taste is sort of tangy, like hibiscus flowers.
If you've ever had Red Zinger tea, it's along that line. Rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin C; I've seen references from 8 to 40 times as much C in rose hips as in oranges.
Foraging for Rose Hips, Then Canning the Memories
So we did, indeed gather buckets full of rose hips from the beach and made a couple batches of jelly and one of jam. Of the two, the kids seemed to prefer the jelly and the adults the jam.
The jam is marmalade-ish given that I use an orange and a green apple to help provide pectin.
The rose hips themselves have very little natural pectin. The jelly recipe uses commercial pectin.
In doing research for the jelly adventure, several sources mentioned that the rose hips are best picked right after the first frost, when they are the sweetest. We picked them in August, and tried to get them as red all around as we could, and firm, blemish-free.
Have you ever cooked with rose hips? Made tea with them? Jams or Jellies? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments.
Fruits Jams and Jellies to Gather and Preserve
Rose Hip Jelly
Rose hips have seeds on the inside that are itchy and irritating. You can leave the seeds in if you want, or remove them; they will get strained out if you don't remove them before cooking.
On doing research for the jelly recipe, one source said that the seeds were slightly tannic and recommended removing them. I tried it both ways and noticed practically no difference in the resulting taste. Removing the seeds is rather painstaking, and for the jelly recipe can add an entire hour to the jelly making process.
Do not use aluminum or cast iron to cook the rosehips; use stainless steel or non-reactive cookware.
8 cups rose hips
6 cups water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 (1.75-ounce) package SureJell pectin
1/4 teaspoon butter
3 1/2 cups sugar
- Jelly bag or fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- 5 to 6 half-pint canning jars
- Large stockpot or canning pot
- Canning rack
Prep the rose hips:
Rinse the rose hips thoroughly. Cut off the scraggly ends and discard.
Boil the rose hips:
Place the rose hips in a large, non-reactive pot. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour (or longer), until rose hips are soft and mashable.
Mash the hips and strain:
Use a potato masher to mash up the rose hips into a rough purée.
Set up a jelly bag, or a large very fine mesh strainer, or 4 layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or large pot.
Transfer the rose hip mixture into the jelly bag/strainer/cheesecloth. Let strain into the bowl for at least an hour. Squeeze the jelly bag or cheesecloth to get more remaining juice out.
Prepare the canning jars:
You'll need 5 to 6 half-pint canning jars and lids. Sterilize the jars using the method you prefer. Wash the lids in hot, soapy water.
Measure the juice:
You will need 3 cups of juice for this recipe, so if you have less than 3 cups, add more water to the mixture (you can also add some boiling water to the jelly bag if you still have it set up, allowing more liquid to drain out).
Make the jelly:
Place 3 cups of the rose hip juice in a large, wide pot. Add the lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil, dissolving all of the pectin.
Add the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter.
Bring to a hard boil (one that you can not reduce by stirring).
The mixture will bubble up considerably. Boil for exactly 1 minute.
Can the jelly:
Remove the pot from heat and pour off into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace from the rim.
If any jelly falls on the rim as your pour it into the jars, wipe the rim with a damp paper towel. Place clean lids on the jars secure fingertip-tight.
Process the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes. To process, place the jars on a rack in a large, tall stock pot. Cover with 1 inch of water and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
Then turn off the heat, remove the jars from the water, and let cool. As the jars cool you should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. The lids should seal; if not, store in the refrigerator.
Once opened, refrigerate the jars for up to 6 months. Sealed jars will keep for a long time, but for the best flavor, consume them within 1 year.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 10g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|