In the same family as crab apples, rose hips are the fruit produced from roses after the bloom has died, and all that's left is an edible seedpod. Rose hips are full of antioxidants and contain 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. Although all roses produce the cranberry-tasting rose hips, the best ones are said to come from the rugosa rose. Rose hips can be used fresh or dried, but when using fresh rose hips, use twice as much.
Harvesting and Preparing Rose Hips
Pick fresh rose hips that are at their ripeness peak and have a deep red to coral hue. Because you are using them for cooking, make sure they are organic and not grown with any sort of chemicals or fertilizers. If you are using rose hips fresh, use them immediately after purchase or harvest to retain the flavor. You can also dry or freeze rose hips for future use.
Slice through the rose hips with a sharp knife through the center and remove the seed from the pod. Place them on a dry paper towel and carefully scratch off the hairy covering of the seeds with your fingers.
Wash the hips gently and let them dry on the paper towel.
Using Rose Hips
Make tea out of the rose hips, which is the most common method of cooking with the seeds. Steep fresh or dried rose hips in boiling water for about 15 minutes before consuming.
Eat dried rose hips as a snack. They will not only provide a kick of vitamin C and energy, but also taste sweet and nutty when dried. Incorporate dried rose hips into beverages as a garnish, or simmer into sauces on the stove top for some bright color and flavor.
Add rose hips to sweet dishes and like desserts by throwing in about 1/2 cup of the rose hips to one cup of other ingredients such as dough, ice cream, pie fillings, frostings, candy and cake toppings.
Create rose jelly or jam. Soak fresh rose hips in water for two or three hours, then simmer on the stove for two hours. After straining out the hips, mash them and combine with equal parts brown sugar. Boil this mixture until it is a thick jam or jelly. You can store the jam or jelly in the refrigerator.