Monday, April 12

Wild food

It's that time of year again - rosehip and haw season. Goulburn is a big rose town and has a beautiful rose garden in the centre of town. The city has a beautiful copper - pink - gold petalled variety named after it. The wild dog rose, Rosa canina, has small and simple pink blooms and fantastic cherry sized fruits or hips. Picked 5kg of the bright red and orange hips last week. They have a distinctive tangy, fruity flavour somewhat like cranberries.
The hips can be used to make a refreshing herbal tea, dried for later use or preserved. We have made some rosehip flavoured vodka and over a dozen jars of rosehip syrup that can be used on ice cream, pancakes and scones or concentrated later for a meat sauce or sweet pie filling.
Rosehips are rich in vitamin C, actually richer than citrus fruit, and were widely eaten in World War II in England. I remember as a child being given a spoonful of rosehip syrup once in a while. Roses have been used in medicine for 2,000 years. Pliny, writing in AD 77, recorded 32 uses and recently it has been shown that rosehips have anti inflammatory properties. They are also high in carotenoid pigments, tocotrienols and polyphenolics which are the plant chemicals valued in protection against cancer and cardio vascular disease.
Processing rosehips is time consuming as the small hairs that surround the seeds can upset the intestinal linings and lead to 'itchy bottoms'.....can't promise I removed all the hairs so consumer beware!! Making the syrup is relatively easy - just boil, strain, boil, sweeten, boil and bottle.
We now have enough syrup for the winter and spring so well worth the effort and the only expense was the sugar.

Next month will be haw(thorn) season. The berries are a bit late this year and not as plentiful as last. Planning to make some savoury sauces for winter roasts.


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