A friend very kindly picked me loads of wild rose hips. Â These red-orange fruits of fall are loaded with vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene. Â They can be dried for tea, or used fresh for syrup and jam. Â (Take note – the seeds inside are covered with irritating hairs, and if the fruits are cut up, the hairs need to be removed. Â The seeds and outside of the fruit are edible.)
Late in the summer, when our elderberries were in full production (and I was still out of commission), my husband picked and froze loads of berries for me. Â Â Adding the rose hips to my elderberry syrup seemed like a great way to boost the health-benefits of this winter-time supplement.
Here’s my updated recipe:
Elderberry Rose Hip Syrup
5 cups fresh or frozen elderberries (see prep below)
2 cups fresh unsprayed (preferably wild) rose hips (see prep below)
thumb-sized piece of ginger, skin peeled off
5 cups water
4-5 cups organic unrefined sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Step 1: Remove all stems – even the smallest ones – from the berries (see my notes on elderberries and cyanide here. Â (If using frozen berries: Let the berries thaw slightly (as seen above), Â then use a fork to easily knock them from the stems. Â Discard all stems and leaves in the compost. Â Rinse berries to remove any debris or spiders.
Step 2: Rinse the rosehips, and remove any that are soft and mushy. Â With your fingers, pull off the dried brown petals from the blossom end of the hip (also called a “haw”). Â Measure out two cups of whole hips (the hips will not burst when cooked, so I don’t cut them open and remove the hairs/seeds for this recipe).
Step 3: Add berries, hips, ginger, and 5 cups water to a heavy-bottomed pan. Â Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid off, for 45 minutes.
Step 4: Strain the liquid ad berries, using a fine strainer or clean tea towel, carefully crushing the hot fruit pulp as you do so. Â Discard the mashed fruit. Â Measure the quantity of juice. Â It should be around 5 cups.
Step 5: Â Add strained juice back to the pan. Â For every cup of juice, stir in 2/3-1 cup of sugar (less sugar will yield a runnier final product). Â Bring mixture to a boil, and boil, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduced by one-third to one-half, and thickens to desired viscosity.
Step 6: Add balsamic vinegar (or substitute with 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar for a brighter flavor), and stir. Â Ladle hot syrup into jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to six months, or process in a hot-water bath canner.
The syrup is very good over ice cream, or pound cake, or mixed with a little hot tea or brandy.
As a health supplement, the syrup is commonly taken as 1/2- 1 tsp daily in the fall and winter. Â My children enjoy it in a small glass of seltzer or orange juice.
Back tomorrow with some garden work from today. Â Hope you had a restful weekend.