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In the Garden

Eat Your Roses

When we think about roses, we usually think about them either as cut flowers or garden plants. And, if we stretch our imagination a bit, we think about how they can be used for perfume and potpourri.

But in this issue of In the Garden, we're going to take your thinking a step further and introduce you to other uses for roses. Did you know that you can eat your roses? Read on to find out more...

rose hipsMany of you may know that roses are a member of the apple family. Ever seen a rose hip? That's that big seed pod that forms on rose canes after it blossoms. Some roses, especially Rugosa roses, form rose hips that are as big as crab apples -- about the size of a quarter! And, in the fall they turn brilliant colors of red and orange, and sometimes even purple.

Rose HipsAnd, being a true member of the apple family, rose hips are edible. There are tons of recipes for using rose hips. We've listed a few of our favorites below. Rose hips are also very high in vitamin C, and you'll often seen them listed as the main source for vitamin C in many commercially available Vitamins.

You can also eat rose petals. Sprinkle them on salads, use them as garnish, or make them into wonderful rose-petal jelly. One of our customers told us that Rosa rugosa alba has the best tasting rose petals. But, if you want to find out for yourself, host a rose-petal tasting party and let your guests tell you which one is the best (don't forget the homemade rose-petal wine)!

Rose Recipes

Preparation: Pick ripe rose hips after the first frost in the fall when they've turned bright orange or red. The frost helps sweeten the flavor. Trim off the stem and blossom ends, cut the hips in half and remove the seeds, then wash well.

Rose Hip Jam
(this recipe has been around since the 1700s)

1 pound prepared rose hips (about 4 quarts)
1 cup of water

In a large pan, add the rose hips and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until very soft--about 20 minutes (add more water if necessary). Press or strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any seeds and to reduce large chunks of hips. Add one pound of sugar (about 3 1/2 cups) to one pound of pulp and simmer. Check the taste and add more sugar if desired. Cook until the mixture has thickened to jam-like consistency. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. This is good to eat when you have a sore throat.


Rose Hip Puree
(This is from an old 16th century recipe used to make
rose hip tart)

1 1/2 cup prepared rose hips
3/4 cup water
2 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1 T lemon juice

Simmer the prepared rose hips in water until soft -- about 10-15 minutes. Stir in sugar, spices and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Use puree for tarts, ice cream toppings or to eat as a sauce.


Rose Hip Tea

Prepare the rose hips as described above and place in a single layer on a drying screen. Allow to completely dry, then store in an air-tight jar in a cool, dark place. Hips may be used whole or slightly broken. Pour boiling water over the hips and allow to steep for 2 minutes. Strain.

Experiment with your own ideas for using roses in recipes. You may discover a whole new way to use your roses.

This page was last updated January 11, 2014

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