How to eat rosehips

Rose hips are the fruit of roses. Depending on the variety of rose, the fruits can be any colour from reddish black through to bright red or orange. Their shapes vary from spherical through to pear shaped. The flesh is quite thin and encloses many dry seeds. Rose hips ripen in late summer/autumn and provide valuable nutrition for the start of winter. They are extremely high in Vitamin C - about 426mg per 100g of hips. Oranges provide about 59mg per 100g of fruit.

This bright and nutritious fruit can be made into jam or jelly, syrup, wine or marmalade and can be used in recipes for pies, puddings, soups, sauces and breads. The fruits can also be eaten raw.

My favourite occupation in late summer and autumn while I am walking out in the countryside is to pick and eat rose hips as I go. You can tell if they are ripe enough if they come off the stem easily when you pull gently at the fruit, turning it to right angles to the stem. Once you have the rose hip in your hand, bite it so that your teeth just split the skin halfway through enabling you to split the fruit open longways with your fingers.

Then, with your thumb nail, scrape the seeds out of the fruit leaving the thin flesh behind. Make sure that there is no mould - sometimes mould develops if the fruit is a bit over-ripe. Nip off the tough end bits and then eat the flesh. You will find it crunchy and dry with the most delicious flavour.

Be sure when you are picking them that they are high enough to have not been contaminated by dogs and as an added precaution be wary of hips growing near agricultural fields in case of contamination by spraying.

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