MH Bonham is an award-winning author and editor. Bonham is also the author of more than 50 books as well as thousands of articles.
If you drink a lot of herbal tea, or tisanes, you've probably heard of rose hips. But did you know that you can make rose hip tea absolutely free? Rose hips are very nutritious berries that are high in vitamin C and other vitamins such as A and E. What's more, it is caffeine free, which makes it an awesome addition to anyone's tea cabinet.
But what you may not know is that you may have wild rose hips not far from your home, ready for you to forage. Here's how to recognize, pick, and brew wild rose hips.
Identifying Rose Hips
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose bush. The rose petals are edible too, but the berries are often sweeter. If you have rose bushes that grow in your yard, you can harvest the rose hips from them, if they have not been sprayed with pesticide. The rose hips on domestic roses will be much larger than those on wild roses (called species rose). You can recognize the species rose when in bloom by its five pink petals, its thorns (like domesticated roses), and its characteristic rose scent.
During autumn, roses lose their leaves like other deciduous plants and leave the red berries on bare (thorny) branches. They are bright red or orange berries on a bush (not a tree) and have these "hairs" at the bottom of the berry, which is actually withered petals.
How to Gather Rose Hips
The best time to harvest rose hips is in the fall sometime after the first frost. They are reputed to be quite sweet. You can often spot rose hips when the leaves have fallen because the red berries will stand out against bare branches. You can pick them by hand or use a berry scoop like I do. Regardless, wear heavy gloves to protect your hands and wrists from thorns.
Using Rose Hips
The rose hip's edible part is the red shell and pink pith that surrounds the seeds. When you open a rose hip, you'll cut off the bottom end and slice open the pod. The seeds are not edible, so scoop them out. But if you're making tea, you can either dry the berries with the seeds or just mash up fresh rose hips and brew, seeds and all.
|Prep time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1 tablespoon rose hips, fresh mashed or dry and crumbled
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey, optional
- 12 ounces water
- Assemble rose hips and cinnamon in your tea infuser and place in teapot or mug.
- Heat water to 190°F.
- Pour hot water over rose hips and cinnamon. Let steep 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add sugar or honey, if desired.
- Enjoy and repeat.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have green rose hips. Can you use those for drying or tea?
Answer: No, it would probably taste bitter. Unless the rose was actually green.
© 2017 MH Bonham