It's such a great time of year to go out foraging. The thought of foraging motivates me to take more walks, and more exercise means more energy as well as free ingredients for homemade projects. Between gifts from neighbors, my local CSA box from Helsing Junction Farm, and items collected on walks I have an abundance of produce begging to be made into jams, teas, syrups and pickles. It's my favorite time of year to squirrel away these goods before they disappear for another year.
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and begin ripening around this time of year. They grow in the wild and on your run-of-the-mill rose bushes. They form where the blossom once was; a second gift from nature. If you are looking to consume them, I'd recommend only gathering them from organic or wild plants. Conventional will work well for wreaths and other seasonal arrangements.
According to Wild Foods, by Roger Phillips, rose hips have as much as twenty times the vitamin C than oranges do. You can reap the benefits of rose hips by making tea, a cordial or syrup, jelly or medicine to treat colds, flus and skin infections. Other benefits of rose hips are that they can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, aid in normalizing cholesterol levels, ease the symptoms of menstruation, treat skin ailments and flood the body with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins C and A as well as help relieve the body of inflammation. One of the easiest ways to use them is by making a tea from the fresh berries. Of course, you can always buy dried rosehip tea, which is also as delicious and it is beneficial.
For a simple rose hip tea, steep 4-8 fresh rose hips in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Add honey if desired and enjoy regularly. My next project is working with my friend, Izzy, at Fieldwork Flowers to create a seasonal rose hip wreath. Stay tuned for what we come up with!