This year, we decided to do something with the abundance of natural produce we’ve got in our Shetland garden. 6 strawberries and a handful of raspberries didn’t go very far but we’ve done well with the herbs outside the back door in pizzas, omelettes and curries. Fortunately, help was on hand in the form of the Shetland Rose, Rosa Rugosa.
This hardy, relatively quick-growing (for Shetland) flowering spiky bastard of a shrub that does very well in our garden and those of our neighbors. After a quick google around, turns out that rosehips from the Rugosa can be used interchangeably with rosehips from the standard rose. So we dispatched the kids to pick us a bucket or two, and got making.
I’m not going to take credit for any of these recipes, they belong to those wonderful folk whose websites we found.
1, Rosehip Jelly.
- 1kg rosehips (approx – whatever you can persuade the kids to get in half an hour’s picking) topped and tailed.
- 2 sweet apples
- Sugar – 1 pint of strained juice needs 1lb jamming sugar
- Get 1 litre water boiling in a large pan
- In a food processor, blitz up the rosehips
- Add rosehips to boiling water
- Crudely chop/blitz apples, add them in to the boiling mix
- Cook for 1/2 hour or so
- Transfer the mix into a jelly bag/straining bag/similar – my wife used a muslin cloth draped over a Kenwood mixer bowl, poured the mix into that, gathered it up and hung it over the bowl from the kitchen units.
- Once the juice has strained out, measure for quantity.
- Put the juice and the right amount of sugar into a pan and heat until it reaches setting point.
- Jar up and save.
The muslin square here was, in a former life, a pad used inside cloth nappies. Buy them in packs of 10 from Mothercare.
The finished product, jarred up and ready to eat.
2, Rosehip Vodka
Kind of obvious, really. In a procedure very similar to the way you’d make Sloe Gin, drown rosehips and a generous bag of sugar in vodka, keep in a sealed vessel (useful side-effect of making wine means we’ve always got a few demijohns – 8 pint glass vessels – around) in a dark place and shake vigorously every day for 2 weeks to a month. Watch the floating earwigs and other pickled beasties float around, safe in the knowledge that they’re adding their own brand of “flavour” – like the Tequila worm.
3, Rose petal tea.
Some of the Rugosas were still in flower when we did this a month or so ago, so we grabbed the petals and stuck them in the Biltonator. For those of you who don’t have one of these, it’s a dehyrdrator designed for making the South African delicacy, Biltong (spiced meat, dried slowly).
Ours is the model you see here, they used to be sold at www.shoponlion.com but they seem to be out of stock. You can still get the spares and spices from them, though, so I expect they’ll be back. Anyway, it’s got an adjustable thermostat (20C – 70C) so we dry halved bananas overnight on full heat for a delicious, chewy breakfast snack… Sorry, getting off-topic here. Lowest temperature setting, a few hours dried the rose petals really well. Mix about 3:1 with green gunpowder tea, jar up and leave to blend. The rosehips themselves took a lot longer to dry but made excellent tea and also a good batch of standard-issue itching powder!
4, Rosehip wine.
This recipe comes from a winemaking standard text: Wine Making – The Natural Way. Very simply, if you make fruit wine you should have this book. Making wine is an excellent way to preserve fruit.