Rose hips (Dog Rose)
Botanical name: Rosa canina
Native to: Europe, temperate areas of Asia and North Africa
Rose hips are a wonderful source of vitamin C and are a brilliant fruit to help the body defend itself from infections. You will find them growing wild in hedgerows, thickets and wasteland so they are an easy herb to forage for. Hips - also known as the accessory fruit - contain the seeds of the plant and form after the successful pollination of the flowers. They contain tannins which mean they can have a mild laxative effect when eaten.
One of the easiest ways to harness their rich vitamins is to make a syrup which can be enjoyed as a sweet nutritious treat but also as a remedy to boost your immune system.
Rose hip syrup
Put 500g of washed rose hips in a saucepan with 1litre of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and leave to infuse with a lid on for about an hour. Pour the liquid through a jelly bag or a sieve lined with muslin or a fine cheesecloth into a measuring jug (note the amount). Return the strained liquid to the saucepan and add in an equal measurement of sugar. If you have 700ml of water you'll need 700g of sugar. Stir in the sugar until dissolved, bring the mixture up to boiling and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Pour into sterilised glass jars or bottles. Enjoy diluted with hot or cold water as a vitamin C packed drink or take a spoonful regularly throughout winter to build your natural defences and keep colds at bay.
NB. Be careful to avoid the hairs around the seeds which can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive system if ingested.