Rose hips have long been used as an immune system booster, reportedly containing 50% more vitamin C than oranges. It’s no wonder these shiny little autumnal powerhouses have been made into syrup and gleefully spooned into mouths winter after winter.
Instead of using just sugar for the syrup I decided to experiment with Manuka honey to really give this syrup a health boosting kick.
Unfortunately, I only had a small amount of rosehips, but that’s part of the fun of foraging I guess, making the most of what the land gives you.
Wash the rose hips and cut in half removing the furry whiskers where the stalk attaches (don’t worry too much if you miss a few as we’ll be straining through a muslin later). Throw them into a saucepan, seeds and all, and cover with boiling water. The exact amount really doesn’t matter too much at this stage. Boil for 15 minutes before breaking them up a bit with a potato masher (obviously do not drain). Once mashed, boil for another 5-10 minutes. Add more water at any time during this process should it be evaporating too quickly.
After 20/25 minutes line a sieve with a clean tea towel or muslin and drain the mixture. Let it sit there until the pulp is cool enough for you to squeeze the remaining juice out of.
Now, pour the flavoured water into a measuring jug and take note of how much liquid you’ve got. How much sugar and honey you add depends on how sweet and thick you want the syrup. I ended up with 250ml water and added two tablespoons of sugar and two of honey. I poured the water back into the pan with just the sugar and allowed to come to the boil and reduce. I purposely didn’t add the honey at this stage as I wanted to limit the amount of damage done to the goodness of the honey through the heating process.
After about ten minutes I added in the two tablespoons of honey and allowed it to melt into the mixture without boiling.
The result is delicious! I put it in a sterilised jar and will be looking forward to enjoying a teaspoon or two a day be it over yoghurt, in my morning smoothie or simply off the spoon.