Health

The Benefits of Rosehip Syrup, a vitamin C boost from your garden

The Benefits of Rosehip Syrup,  a vitamin C boost from your garden

When I was little my mother used to always sweeten our plain yogurt [that I did not like too much then, we are talking 1970ies style lumpy rustic yogurt] with rose hip syrup, to add an extra dose of vitamin C to our diet. It´s a habit I continued with while growing up and still to this day I use it often, mainly in the autumn and wintertime when I like to make sure I keep my immune system up when it´s getting colder outside and cold and flu season is just around the corner.  The benefits of rosehip syrup have been known for a very long time. Especially right now when a very hard to knock down virus is all around us, I like to do what I can to make sure my body’s defenses are up to a maximum!

Which roses are best to use?

To start off with, you will need to find the actual rose hips. You can either buy organic rose hips online or you can use the ones from your own garden or you could go out foraging for them. When foraging please make sure you pick them where they haven´t been sprayed with pesticides or otherwise polluted like next to busy roads etc. And another important issue with foraging is to just take an amount that is reasonable for your needs as we do like to leave enough food for wild animals to help them through the rough winter. So let´s leave some for the deer, squirrels and birds too!

Basically you could use any kind of rose hips to make syrup with, but the Small Dog Rose,(Latin name: Rosa Canina) as well as the Japanese Rose (Latin name: Rosa Rugosa) are most commonly used.

Photo below shows Dog rose hips in the Plantscapades garden.

Rose Hip Syrup benefits

Rosehips have been used literally for ages dating as far back as the Egyptian and Roman eras. In the 13th Century the plantation of the Dogrose in hedgerows became popular, by then humans were already using this plant for medicinal purposes as well. Because of their high vitamin C content (approx. 10 times higher than that of an orange) and it’s content of flavonoids, which are needed to absorb vitamin C better in the body, remedies based on rose hip were used against colds, flu symptoms and a weak immune system caused by vitamin c deficiency.

Right before the outbreak of W.W.II the first medicinal rose hip syrups were developed mainly to build up the immune systems of children, but it became a popular remedy for all ages to bring relief for numerous aches and pains related to cold winter weather. Packed with anti oxidants and other vitamins [ B1, B2, B3,B5M K and E], this stuff is pretty amazing.

Because of it’s anti inflammatory properties rose hip, taken orally in capsules, can bring relief in case of arthritis pain.

The only downside of processing them is that the vitamin c content reduces rapidly during storage and cooking, so it’s very important to use them directly after picking them or rapidly after drying them. Unfortunately vitamin c is very light, air and temperature sensitive. This is one of the reasons that commercially bought rose hip syrups often contain added vitamin c, or, ascorbic acid. In general about half of the vitamin c content is lost in the processing of rose hips, so don’t despair, there will still be some left in your home made treasures!

Other Rose hip usages and their benefits

Because I am very lucky to have a reasonable sized Dogrose shrub in my garden and I love making my own home remedies, I have started looking into making different types of Rose hip products to add to my home apothecary.

A small list of favorite rose hip usages and products:

  • Rose hip Oil The oil obtained by pressing the seeds is used in skincare products to help fight the signs of aging, dry skin, scars and age spots on hands and face. It’s also used as a conditioner for nails and hair. [Not making this myself yet as I don’t have the materials] But buying it online.
  • Rose hip tincture A tincture made from in alcohol macerated rose hips can be used to fortify the immune system
  • Rose hip Jam Similar benefits as rosehip syrup and just delicious!
  • Rose hip Wine Macerate cleaned {seeds and hairs removed} rose hips with sugar in white wine for 8 days.
  • Rose hip Tea For this dried and cleaned rose hips are used.

My favorite Rose Hip Syrup recipe

I admit there is a bit of time involved but the end result is so very much worth it!

Pick your rose hips when the weather has well cooled down, October is my favorite time of year but others prefer picking after the first frost.

This recipe makes about 1.75 liters.

It´s essential to store your syrup in sterilized bottles, you can either do this by putting them through the dishwasher, or hot water bathe them for at least 10 minutes or by putting them in a preheated oven on 160 degrees Celsius, [gas mark 3] for about 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 500g clean ripe rose hips
  • 650g sugar, or raw honey and cinnamon if your prefer, use roughly 400 gr. of honey per 800ml. of liquid
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Mince, chop or blitz the rose hips in a food processor. Boil 800ml water in a large pan and add the rose hips. Bring back to the boil, cover and remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for 15 minutes – covered. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin into a large jug. – Leave to drip for an hour or so and save the pulp.

Put the strained juice in the fridge and boil another 800ml of water in the large pan. Add the rose hip pulp to the pan and bring it back to the boil, take off the heat and cover. Leave the pan for 15 minutes and then strain through the jelly bag as before. This time leave it to drip for a good few hours overnight if it’s still dripping.

All together you will have about 1 liter of juice. Put this in a large pan with the sugar or honey and lemon juice. Bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar or honey, then boil for 2-3 minutes and bottle in warm sterile bottles.

And there you are! This syrup keeps up to 3 to 4 months, once opened it needs to stay refrigerated and to be used fairly quickly.

You can use your delicious syrup to sweeten yogurt or drink it mixed with mineral water as a lemonade. Try pouring it over your breakfast waffles, pancakes or in desserts. And last but not least you can add a good splash of it to some sparkling wine or gin or rum and create your own rose hip cocktail. Bottoms up!

However you decide to use it; enjoy!!

By Diana

Making it our mission to change the world by making people aware of cleaner and healthier ways to live. For a cleaner planet and a cleaner you!

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