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Rosehips – bright red and good for you

In autumn, rosehips make splashes of brilliant colour in gardens and hedgerows. Rosehips are excellent sources of vitamin C; better than lemons or sea buckthorn, which are both known for their high vitamin C content. Depending on the species of rose and how ripe the hips are, the vitamin C content can vary between 400 and 5000 milligrams per 100 grams of fruit. Rosehips are also a rich source of B vitamins, provitamin A and minerals, such as iron, magnesium and sodium. They also contain pectin, tannins, essential oils and lycopene. The latter is an antioxidant which protects the body from damaging free radicals.

Wild roses as medicinal plants

Rosehips are the fruit of several species of wild rose, like Rosa rugosa and Rosa canina. They’ve long been believed to have medicinal properties and to be good for loss of appetite and urological illnesses. A tea made of rosehips is often recommended for fever and infections.

Cooking with rosehips

The fine fruity-sour flavour of rosehips is popular in the kitchen. Rosehips can be used to make spicy sauces for meat and game or added to muffins, cakes and desserts. They can be transformed into liqueurs and chutneys and made into jams, either alone or mixed with apples, pears or cornel cherries. In Sweden, you’ll find rosehip soup "nyponsoppa" eaten with crispbreads.

Preparation takes some effort

Preparing rosehips is fiddly work. You have to remove the remains of the blossom, the stalk and the seeds together with the hairs. It’s best to wear rubber gloves when you’re removing the seeds, because the fine hairs can irritate skin and mucous membranes (in the past, country children used them to make “itchy powder”). Alternatively, simmer the rosehips in a little water until they’re soft and then press them through a fine sieve. Rosehips should not be eaten raw.

Harvesting and quality

Rosehips are ripe for picking from late summer onwards. The fruit is ripe when the skin gives a little when pressed with a finger and when the fruit drops easily off the plant.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de