I was in full-on gathering mode and nothing could stop me; not Devil's Club squirming its way under my snow pants, not a tumble down a slippery slope, not the zero degree temperature. The rose hips shone like rubies against the glistening white snow, and I was not going home until every last one was plucked from its thorny stem.
Rose hips, packed with Vitamin C and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, sweeten up after a frost. It was well after our first frost, but I had previously been concentrating on my high bush cranberry collecting. Now the tart red jewels of the wild rose plant were calling to me. It was time to make rose hip syrup.
Rose Hip Syrup
1 cup rose hips, stems and tails removed
2 1/2 cups water + 1 cup + 2 cups
1/2 cup honey
Place the hips and the water in a medium sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add more water, up to one cup, as it evaporates. Mash the rose hips with a potato masher and let cool. Strain the mixture through cheese cloth, squeezing the liquid into a glass jar. Add the mashed hips back to the saucepan, and cover with another two cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 additional minutes. Repeat the straining process. Pour all of the collected liquid back into the saucepan and add the honey. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Once the liquid has cooled, pour into a glass jar. Keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Add a bit of the syrup to mineral water for a healthy soda. Or mix syrup, mineral or tonic water, and a shot of gin for a festive cocktail.