All you need to know about Rosehips and how to get the best out of them.

All good things must come to an end – and that includes warm summer nights.  But with the close of summer comes overnight frosts, the ideal time to gather plump, ripe rosehips.

Rose hips are the bright red or orange fruits of the wild rose bush. It's the berry-like fruits left behind after the flower dies. They have a tangy, fruity flavour similar to that of cranberries. The fruit is called "hips" because it is smooth and somewhat round. Rose hips are also a great source of vitamin C, selenium, and B-complex vitamins as well as slim amounts of potassium, magnesium, and silicon. They contain high levels of antioxidant flavonoids with known anti-inflammatory properties and they can be used fresh or dried.




Where to find Rosehips- Hedgerows, woodlands, they often grow along side brambles.


 How to pick- Remember they have thorns so gloves might be a good idea.

Rose hips are best when harvested one week or so after the first frost, or in late fall if your area doesn't have frost The frost breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, thereby giving you more liquid once the fruit is cooked or making the wall of the hip softer.

If you cannot wait for the frost there is a way, mimic frost is to pick your rosehips when they are nice and red and fat, even if they appear hard, then take them home and put them in your freezer for 24 hours, defrost and use in your rosehip recipes.

Believe me when I say that you must always freeze your rosehips, as this will allow for maximum flavour when crafting your rosehip recipes.

Avoid harvesting rose hips that are completely soft because they are spoiled. Harvest before the rose hips, or fruits, begin to dry out. It's important to check your rose bushes to see if the rose hips are getting too soft or wrinkling. Of course, beating wildlife to the harvest is key because they love to eat rose hips.

How to prepare- remove stalks and any mushy hips, rinse with cold water and drain well. I like to use them A.S.A.P

How to dry Rose Hips

Spread the rose hips in a single layer over a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet or a wire rack or something similar. Dry them in an airy spot at room temperature for 2 weeks I dry mine in a dehydrator it just speeds things up for me.

 dried rosehips Dried rosehips

How to Make Rose Hip Tea

Rose hips are most commonly used in teas.  Commercially, most fruit or berry flavoured teas contain rose hips. They give a tart, tangy flavour due to the naturally occurring ascorbic acid. Always prepare rose hips using non-aluminium cookware – aluminium destroys the vitamin C content.

  • To make tea from fresh rose hips, steep 2 tablespoons of rose hips in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes.
  • To make tea from dried rose hips, steep 2 teaspoons of rose hips in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

For your equine friend you can double the quantity and I always like to leave my herbal teas to infuse over night.

rosehip tea


 How to make Rose Hip Tincture /Extract

Fresh Herb
• Finely chop or grind clean herb to release juice and expose surface area.
• Fill jar 2/3 to 3/4 with herb. ~ OR ~ Fill jar 1/4 to ½ with roots.
• Pour alcohol or cider vinegar over the herbs. Cover completely!
• Jar should appear full of herb, but herb should move freely when shaken.

Dried Herb
• Use finely cut herbal material.
• Fill jar 1/2 to 3/4 with herb ~ OR ~ Fill jar 1/4 to 1/3 with roots.
• Pour alcohol or cider vinegar over the herbs. Cover completely!
• Roots will expand by ½ their size when reconstituted!

Extraction Time and Bottling

Store jar in a cool, dry, dark cabinet. Shake several times a week and check your alcohol levels. If the alcohol has evaporated a bit and the herb is not totally submerged, be sure to top off the jar with more alcohol. Herbs exposed to air can introduce mold and bacteria into your tincture. Allow the mixture to extract for 6-8 weeks.

Now it’s time to squeeze. Drape a damp cheesecloth over a funnel. Pour contents of tincture into an amber glass bottle. Allow to drip, then squeeze and twist until you can twist no more! Optional: Blend herbs into a mush and strain remaining liquid.

The last step is perhaps the most important of all! Once you’ve strained and bottled your tincture, be sure to label each bottle with as much detail as possible. You will be so happy to have this information to play with next time you tincture the same herb. Don’t plan to lean on your sense of taste or smell alone – regardless of how well honed your organpleptic skills may be. Skipping this step will surely lead to a dusty collection of unused mystery extracts.

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Rachel Kelly Equine Herbalist - Graney Road - Lower Plunketstown - Castledermot , Co Kildare, Ireland
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