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 sweeter then. 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
MH Bonham (author) from Missoula, Montana on January 12, 2019:
Awesome! Sounds lovely!
Doris Livezey on January 12, 2019:
I was visiting relatives in Hamilton, Montana this summer; what a beautiful area you live in.
I volunteer in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden and we just pruned all 2500 plants. We don't use any pesticides. I had volunteers saving rose hips for me so now I'm going to make some tea!
MH Bonham (author) from Missoula, Montana on October 29, 2018:
Kambriann Briggs from Oakland, OR on October 29, 2018:
Very interesting post! I have been wanting to do something like this for a while, so I'm glad to have found something on it!
MH Bonham (author) from Missoula, Montana on October 09, 2018:
Should not, as long as you do not ingest the seeds, themselves. But as tea, they should be fine. Of course, do not use rose hips on roses that have been sprayed with chemicals. And do not use rose hips if you're allergic to them.
Lynda on October 09, 2018:
Is there any concern about irritation if you use the hips whole for tea? Thanks -enjoyed the article and have many around where I live and will be glad to do something with them
Ravi Thangaveloo on October 06, 2018:
This is the first time im reading this article.Thank you very much for the knowledge
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on October 12, 2017:
This article was really interesting to read. I had no idea you could make tea with rosehips. Thanks, I'll give this a try. =)
MH Bonham (author) from Missoula, Montana on October 12, 2017:
Funny, I didn't really know what as rosehip was until I moved to Montana. Glad you enjoyed the article!
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 11, 2017:
I admit I've never known what a rose hip was, so this was educational.