Rose hip syrup
For my syrup I generally use Rosa canina which is commonly known as the dog rose .
In the uk there are commonly found two types of rose one with small hips and one with large , both can be used but the smaller ones are my preference ,
Now depending on the time of the hips season makes the process slightly different .
At the beginning of autumn when the hips are first ready I peel each hip and disregard the seeds so that I can use the mulch to make fruit leather after extracting the syrup but this time of year ( late winter ) when we can still take advantage if the very last hips on offer I tend to leave the seeds in as the hips have naturally began to breakdown and I find it leaves a slightly alcoholic taste to the leather so I don’t use it , if you don’t want to make leather each hip must be pricked before processing or simply freeze them before use .
To start I will keep it simple say one kilogram of hips fill a pan to level of the top of hips with pre-boiled water ( pre boiled is important adding hot water immediately decreases the protein bonding within the skin and releases more of the flavour ) .
Continue to boil the water until the hips have broke down and the liquid has reduced by half.
At this point lower the heat and add half the weight of the hips in honey ( yes honey )
I like to use all natural product so I do not use sugar in any of my preserves and finding a hobby bee keeper who is happy to swap honey for syrup is usually quite easy and remember for each kg of honey you get double the amount of syrup.
Continue to stir always in one direction as this stops the froth from forming on the top which eventually clouds the syrup, if you do still have clouding add a small amount of butter to the mix this disperses the froth ,
When you are happy that the consistency is right you can the sieve the mix I look for a consistency of milk .
You can buy proper syrup sieves which are relatively cheep but any cotton cloth works just as well.
This bit is the waiting as the mix as it cools turns much thicker and takes time to work through the sieve .
Don’t be tempted to squash the mix as it only clogs up the material and then takes longer ,
once the syrup stops seeping through loosen the mix slightly and leave for a further ten minutes .
This then can be bottled into pre sterilised containers and left to cool and is ready to eat .
I then mash the mix if not using for leather and add an equal amount of water and re-boil then let cool and use in a bread mix I promise you won’t be disappointed .
Rose hip syrup is one of the highest plant sources of vitamin C available and has many medicinal uses including joint pain. One thing I stress is that it also contains vitamin D so if pregnant please consult a doctor as it can cause blindness to unborn children