Foraging on the Farm: Rosehips

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If there is one thing we have plenty of out here in our corner of the country, it’s wild roses! As beautiful as they are, they also tend to be inconveniently located and, like a lot of plants on the Farm, they tend to want to take over.

Today, however, we will be making lemonade out of lemons… or, rosehips out of roses!

Before we get started, remember that with this or any of our Foraging on the Farm posts, there is no substitute for your own research, and we expect you to do that. I own three foraging and medicinal herb books, I use a plant identifying app and Google Lens. All of these resources help me make informed identification and usage decisions. If you’re ever in doubt, trust me, you don’t need it that badly. Be safe and sure!

What are Rosehips?

Rosehips are considered the “fruit” of the rose. It is the round seed pod found just under the petals of the rose. They are generally a bright orange to red color when they are ready to be picked and are generally ready to harvest in the late summer to late fall months. What we don’t forage, the birds do and there always seems to be enough for both of us.

Right now, the rosehips here on the Farm are green.

A few of last year’s rosehips still clinging to the stem along with new rosehips ripening.
Rosehips ready to be picked

Why Forage Rosehips?

Rosehips are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C. Consuming your vitamins directly from food sources increases their bioavailability. The Vitamin C that you get in pharmaceutical form is only a portion of the vitamin (an “isolate”) that is necessary to get the full therapeutic effect. Rosehips also contain a respectable amount of Vitamin A.

In addition to aiding in immune system function, these vitamins and antioxidants can improve eyesight, help manage free radicals and promote brain, heart, skin and bone health.

And, believe it or not, rosehips are really diverse! Although heating or freezing will both degrade the amount of Vitamin C that is available, it is still remarkably high even in comparison to fruits and vegetables that we normally associate as good sources of Vitamin C.

How much vitamin c in different fruits

Rosehips can be made into jellies, jams, syrup, cordial, gummies… there are lots of options! I normally dehydrate mine and use them in a tea diffuser especially during cold and flu season, but this year I will definitely try my hand at making syrup. Look for a blog post featuring these wild jewels this winter, for sure!

Tea on the balcony
How much vitamin c in different fruits

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