Firstly, I have an affinity to the name Rose, my maternal Grandmother’s name. Recently I’ve spent some much needed time foraging for rosehips. If you don’t know a thing about rosehips, now is a great time to learn about them.
I started learning about these fascinating bulbs when I was a child. I remember being up at the lakes, north of Prince Albert, and always seeing those beautiful little pink flowers in the ditch or scattered throughout the trees. Their pleasant smell always gave me a good feeling. After a while, when it came to be fall, those pretty pink flowers turned into little orange-crimson-scarlet bulbs and those are called rosehips. I remember someone telling me they would use rosehips to make jewelry - I thought it was pretty cool and I recall trying it once or twice.
Things change though and now as I’ve grown older and continue learning more about the flora and fauna that surrounds us and our beautiful city, I’ve learned there are many health benefits associated with rosehips. These beautiful little jewels are an ultimate source of vitamin C and are an excellent antioxidant so last year I started foraging for rosehips and continue to utilize them for all their health benefits. I am not a medical expert; through personal experience and research I have confidence in their botanical brilliance. Do your research before trying.
Roses are easy to see in the summer when they’re blooming and there are plenty of them in many wild spaces you look, including spots right here in the city. This summer I spent some time walking and located a few good bushes for harvesting. I gather them right after that first frost when they pick up a mild sweet flavour. They are best served with the respect they require - as a wild medicine.
I bring them home and dry them in baskets; single layer. Leaving them on the counter, I give them a shake every day or so and watch them gradually dry. This is likely the best and most natural way to dry as water and heat can destroy some of the medicinal properties. Some people opt to cut them in half and scoop out the seeds/pulp although I don’t do this in order to maintain their medicinal integrity. After they’re dry, I take the leaves off the rosehips and allow them to dry a little longer. This process takes about 10 days. If you can, store in a glass container as that’s best. A foodsafe, airtight bag can be used. I will keep my supply for two years; if it lasts that long.
Rosehips are old medicine and that’s knowledge I think is vital to keeping me healthy and connected with my roots. As I write this I am on kilometre 18 of the 22km Rotary Trail around Prince Albert; reflecting, planning, enjoying what life has to offer me in this moment. We truly are fortunate to live where we do.
Use 1 heaping teaspoon of rosehips per cup of boiled water and steep 15 minutes. Some people prefer to boil rosehips, which makes a stronger, darker brew. While you may lose Vitamin C content with boiling, it may increase extraction of minerals and pectin.