Written by Phil Brown, Badger Bushcraft Friday, 22 October 2010 22:06
Rose hips have been most prolific this year here in Kent. We have watched, with great interest, the seasons roll by and the abundant flowers developing into a glut of fruit. Only now have we been able to harvest the pendulous, succulent crop from our local hedgerows. Armed on this brisk October morning with beautiful wicker gathering baskets and a most useful Swedish berry picker were we able to gather sufficient supplies.
Ben managed to get to grips with our Canon EOS 40D DSLR far better than I and he soon captured some lovely pictures, as well as contributing towards selecting the cream of the crop
HEATH AND SAFTEY – Please note that the hairs of the rose hips can be highly irritant and it is therefore essential that all edible products produced are very carefully filtered! Handling rose hips can also cause irritation to the skin!
We took the rose hips back to Badger HQ and soon removed all the stalks, odd leaf and below par rose hips from our bounty. Once thoroughly washed it was time to blend the hedgerow hips. We have found that by mixing some boiling water with the succulent scarlet fruit makes the task far easier as there is a tendency for the unlubricated rose hips to clog the mixer.
We added 750g of pulverised rose hips to three pints of water at a rolling boil. We brought this mixture back to the boil stirring continuously. After but a few minutes we removed the pan from the gas flame and allowed the concoction to stand for around 10 minutes.
As we had no muslin to drain the mixture through we had to make do with a pair of tights purchased from the village store – I did explain why they were needed! We fashioned a device, from a colander, the tights and several elastic bands which worked a treat, and collected the filtered liquor into a saucepan. The remaining pulp was added to yet anther pint of boiling water and the process repeated.
We boiled the rose hip “soup” until we had reduced it by about one third and at this point added 450g of caster sugar. Caster sugar is far easier to dissolve into syrup than granulated sugar.
After bringing the syrupy mixture to a simmer and carefully stirring for around five minutes we decanted our results into a sterilised Kilner jar where it awaits being consumed. Suffice to say that licking the spatula and saucepan gave us a true taste of things to come!Unfortunately there was a little too much of our rose hip syrup to fit into one jar – I was therefore forced to mix the leftovers into some vodka, which I’m sure will compliment other stocks set aside as our Christmas fare.