A couple of weekends ago, we went hedgerow foraging, we found several Dogrose bushes laden with ripe rosie hips. We knew exactly what to make with them, Rosehip Syrup.
During the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence had a team of volunteers gather Rosehips to make into syrup. They were paid just 3d (just over 1p) for each pound they collected and the syrup was fed to the nations children.
Rosehips are naturally packed full of Vitamin A and C, which was in short supply during the War.
Last year we were struck down with Swine Flu. I don't think I have ever felt so ill and I don't ever want to have the flu like that again, so fingers crossed, having a spoonful of this a day will keep nasty bugs away and boost our immune system.
The recipe I used was from the River Cottage Handbook No 2 - Preserves:
650g Graulated Sugar
Pick over the rosehips, removing the stalks, and rinse in cold water.
Put 800ml water in a pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, mince the rosehips in a food processor. (I used the coffee grinder attachment on my liquidiser).
Add this mash to the pan of boiling water, cover and bring back to the boil. Take off the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
Pour through a scalded jelly bag or muslin and leave to drip for an hour or so.
Set aside the strained juice. Bring another 800ml water to the boil, add the rosehip pulp, and repeat the boiling process again. Tip the mixture back into the jelly bag or muslin and this time leave to drip overnight.
The next day, combine both lots of strained juice (discard the pulp). Measure the juice (you should have about 1 litre) and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar and heat, stirring until dissolved. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then immediately pour into warm, sterilised bottles and secure with a screw cap or cork.
Use within 4 months.
It tastes very sweet (lots of sugar in the recipe!), but also fragrant yet spicy. Really rather delicious and the best thing is, the boys love it!
I have some hips left over. I could go out and pick some more to make more syrup or I might make these, which I totally fell in love with (get it heart?!), ahem. I like the idea of starting to make some Christmas decorations out of natural things.