Fruit of the Rose

Rose Hips

Rose Hips

Fall might not inspire thoughts of roses, but as the leaves and flowers give way to the cold, the fruit of the rose stands out – orange or red against the dying meadow grasses and garden flowers. The rose fruit is called rose hips and tasty recipes abound that call for it.

Herbalists are fond of rose hips for its high Vitamin C content, which is substantial, putting citrus fruits like orange to shame. According to the USDA, 1 cup of rose hips has 541 mg of Vitamin C or about 8 times the amount of a medium sized orange or over seven times the daily recommended amount for women and almost 6 tims the amount for men.

Rose hips are more tart than sweet and grow in our backyard (or a neighbor's), making this an economical and environmental choice when you would like to add a little vitamin C to your life.

Fresh rose hips have the most Vitamin C. To preserve this year's harvest, you can make rose hip jam, syrup, or vinegar. Preserving with vinegar is the easiest and the healthiest way to preserve the harvest.


Gather the rose hips before or after a frost (like many fruit they are sweeter after a frost).

Put rose hips (cut, deseeded, whole, or pierced) into a jar.

Cover with apple cider vinegar.

Cap with a plastic lid or cork (vinegar fumes will erode metal lids quit dramatically) and label with the date and ingredients.

Let steep in a dark cupboard for four to six weeks.

Strain and use.

You have a few choices in how to prepare the rose hips for the vinegar. You can stuff them into a jar whole with no preparation. Or, if you are interested in processing them to make sure they infuse well into the vinegar, you can cut the top and bottom tips off. Inside the rose hips have many fine hairs in addition to seeds. These hairs can be itchy and irritating. Some people cut open the rose hip, scoop out the insides, and put the rest of the fruit into the jar. In this case, you would want to strain the vinegar through something very fine to ensure that no hairs make it into your final product. A coffee filter or jelly bag would work well. Alternatively, Canadian herbalist Carol Little advises piercing the skin with a pin several times so the hairs cannot escape.

Once you strain your vinegar, you can use it daily as a tonic throughout the winter by taking a teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of vinegar straight, adding it to tea or water, or using it as part of a dressing for salads.

If you are starting to come down with a cold or flu, a perfect remedy would be to add ginger juice, lemon juice, rosehip vinegar, and honey to hot water. Drink throughout the day. Smaller doses more frequently work the best. So a half cup every two hours is better than drinking a cup in the morning and one in the evening.

Not all rose varieties bear large hips, but you can use the fruit from any cultivated or wild rose as long as you are careful to avoid those that have been sprayed with pesticides. You can also purchase dried rose hips online from reputable companies like Mountain Rose Herbs. Dried hips work well in this no fuss jam recipe below, along with the following tea blends.


This recipe is from Juliet de Bairacli Levy.

Fill a jar or bowl halfway with dried rose hips.

Cover with apple juice.

Put in the refrigerator.

Every few hours, stir your jam and if it seems a little dry add more apple juice. The more apple juice you add, the sweeter and juicier it will be.

By the next morning you have a fabulously sweet and tart rosehip jam to wow your guests or yourself.


1 part rose hips

1 part rose petals

2 parts raspberry leaf

This astringent and fruity tea is a vitamin and mineral rich tonic that is particularly good for women. If you enjoy the taste of black tea, you will probably enjoy this blend.


1 part rose hips

1 part rose petals

2 parts raspberry leaf

1 part hibiscus

The addition of hibiscus makes this deliciously sour and cooling.


1 part rose hips

1 part elder flower

¼ part cardamom

¼ part cinnamon

The elder flower is a traditional way to ward off colds and flus and the warming spices chase the chill from your bones. This is a good blend to drink as a winter tonic or to take at the first hint of a cold or flu.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of the North Star Monthly.

Check out these articles on rose:

An Herbal Valentine

Rose Body Scrub


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