Autumn Foraging: Rose Hips

diagrams,drinks,fruit — by Johanna

The other day I took my bike on a long long bike ride  to get to the sea through neighborhoods I never new existed. The idea was to get away from the city to breath fresh salty air and eat some newly caught clams. The bonus was that I got to pick ripe rose hips. The rose bushes where growing in the sand just at the edge of the beach. As a rose hip loving Swede, this was a happy moment and I picked as many as I could find.

Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and there are plenty of things to make with it. For example, the outer fruity part of the rose hip (often orange or red) can be dried and used for soup and tea (which can be done with the fresh fruit as well). A rose hip soup is very popular in Sweden especially among children. I love it. The soup can be eaten warm or cold, with ice cream or tiny almond cookies (mandel biskvier) that are best soaked in the soup. My favorite is to serve the soup while cross-country skiing, smoking hot directly from a thermos. I can’t think of a better energy treat than that!

If you ever have split open a rose hip you probably know that the hairy part that surrounds the seeds creates itchiness on your skin. Its annoying but totally harmless. (It’s actually used as an itching powder).

Fresh rose hips are often used to make jam, marmalade or jelly. You can also make schnapps, liqueur or, why not some rose hip sherry? My sister Anna Kindvall has become sort of an expert at making sherry out of rose hips. So well that a restaurant recently wanted to put it on their dessert wine list. In her wine cabinet you can find different vintages of the wine and like many other wines this wine gets better with age. The wine is sweet and flavorful. It works well with desserts or different kinds of cheeses. It’s also great in cooking and, I agree with my sister, a dash of rose hip sherry in a chantarelle sauce is heavenly.

My sister (and others) claims that the most flavorful rose hips are the once with long narrow fruits. I have also heard that the best time to pick them is after the 1st frost (however my sister picks them always before). Here in Brooklyn it’s still summer and the once I picked were all small and round (with a really nice aroma). I couldn’t get hold of winemakers yeast so I’m using instant yeast. Oh well, in time we will see how my batch of  wine will turn out.

Anna’s Rose Hip Sherry

  • 8 ½ cups (2 liters) rose hips (preferably the long narrow fruits)
  • 3 1/3 lb (1 ½ kg) sugar
  • 12 2/3 cups (3 liter) water
  • 25 gr wine maker’s yeast (or fresh yeast, it might even work with instant yeast)

Roughly trim the rose hips but don’t rinse them with water as the surface contains natural yeast that are useful in the process (or that’s what I’ve heard). Make a sugar syrup by heating up the sugar together with the water. When the sugar has dissolved let it cool. Use some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast start (there will be bubbles on the surface) before mixing with the rest of the sugar liquid and the rose hips in a bucket or a glass carboy. Cover the jar and let the wine sit still for three months. At this time the liquid should look clear and the rose hips have fallen to the bottom of the jar.

Tap the sherry into dark bottles (for example on 12 fl oz (33 cl) beer bottles). To avoid the sediment at the bottom Anna recommends spooning up the sherry instead of pouring (can be hard with a carboy). Seal with a suitable cork or cap. Let the sherry stand for at least one more month before drinking.

If you are patient enough to store it, or at least with some of it, my sister thinks it’s best to drink after 5 years.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon, 13 september 2012

In this Autumn Foraging Series also check out, Autumn Foraging – Apples with an Apple Cider Vinegar recipe

10 Comments »

  1. Sarah:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ve been looking enviously at my neighbor’s rose hips. I think I’ll have to suggest we make this recipe. It sounds fabulous!

  2. Johanna:

    This makes me so happy to hear Sarah! I really hope your neighbor let you pick some rose hips so you can make this sherry.

  3. valerie {all mussed up}:

    I doubt I could wait five years, because this sounds utterly scrumptious!

  4. Johanna:

    Hi Valerie, I’m not sure if I will be able to wait either ;) .

  5. Autumn Foraging: Apples | kokblog:

    [...] this Autumn Foraging series see also Autumn Foraging: Rose Hips with a recipe of Rose Hip [...]

  6. foodiesgarden:

    i just made rose hips jam and rose hips syrup, but never heard about rose hips soup or rose hips sherry. thanks for sharing, i really like the ideas and will try next autumn!

  7. Johanna:

    Foodiegarden: It sounds great with rose hip jam and syrup. I hope you will get to make rose hip sherry next year.

  8. Urban Foraging – Anna’s Rose Hip Sherry | Amy Pennington:

    [...] out kokblog for the recipe and notes on making and storing your foraged sherry. And for more rosehip info, here [...]

  9. anja nilsson:

    Hej Johanna!

    Jag är en vän till Anna och hamnade här via FB… måste bara säga, att du har en jätte, jättefin hemsida med underbara illustrationer och bra recept, så himla fint!!

    Nu ska jag ut och leta nypon, här ska det göras sherry!

    ps. vi möttes som hastigast på Martin o Gunillas sommarfest. Tror det var förra sommaren.ds

    Ha det gott!
    Anja Nilsson

  10. Johanna:

    Hej Anja,
    vad kul att se dig här. Och vad glad jag blir att du gillar mina recept och bilder! Jag hoppas din nypon sherry blir god. Min jäser på fint och luktar himelsk när jag lyfter på locket! Tack!

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