Rose hips peek up at us from leafless bushes and shine at us with their reddish orange color till the first snow. I wonder why people don’t gather them and use their potential fully especially during the autumn time when they fight with viruses and various infections. There are many products you can make from rose hips, rose hip jam is the most versatile and have many other uses. We will explore its uses later in the article. But let’s start from the beginning.
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What are rose hips anyway?
They are the fruit of rose plants that contain its seeds. Rose hips are rich in vitamin A, E and C and are very beneficial in colds and flu prevention as well as in their treatment. Among others they also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and are useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Rose hips are edible and there are plenty of kinds of which the tastiest are Dog Rose (Rosa canina), Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa) or Sweet briars (Rosa rubiginosa). They are typically gathered in October all the way to November. When foraging for rose hips make sure you pick those that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.
The preparation of the rose hip jam is not easy, but the taste is rewarding. When you will be warming up in the winter with a cup of rose hip hot tea and nibbling on raw rose hip cookies, you will forget all about the hard work.
Do not forget to take gloves when you go picking rose hips. Thorns are sharp and can prick you uncomfortably. And do not think that with foraging rose hips the worst part is done..
That is yet to come
The technique of processing rose hips for a jam
- When preparing rose hips for the jam there are several methods you can use. First method is to cut each washed and dried rose hip from both sides, open it and remove all sticky seeds. We don’t want those seeds ending up in our jam. The seeds have hairs on their surface that are highly irritating to our digestive tract. So make sure you have removed them completely before using them in any of your rose hip recipes. Having said that to make 500 ml jar of rose hip jam you will need 1 kg of rose hips => 40 minutes for cleaning all the rose hips if you are alone… You can see the technique in the video on this page
- the second method is to cut the end and tail off of the rose hip (they might give a bitter taste to the jam), add double the amount of water and cook till the fruits become mushy. Once they have mushy texture you can start getting rid of the seeds through a strain. You need to get a cloth or sieve and start straining several times till there are no hairs as they are highly irritative.
- Some people are claiming that the seeds are tannic and if you leave them in the mixture during boiling the taste of jam will be affected. So they recommend to remove them. On the other hand I found many recipes using this easier and faster method. Which is to boil the whole rose hips in the water till they are soft, which can take 30-40 minutes. By pressing through a sieve to remove any seeds and to reduce large chunks of hips
People have been using jam since ancient times to preserve fruits and even vegetables (yes, like carrot or caramelized onion) during the whole year. They used honey as a sweetener before cane sugar even existed. Since then jam has come in and spread around the world. I have used for this jam stevia but feel free to use other sweeteners as per your choice.
How long does the rose hip jam last and how do I store it?
There are two ways you can store the jam.
- if you plan to eat the jam within 3-4 weeks , keep it in the fridge. If you plan to eat it later either refrigerate it for up to 1 year or
- use a boiling water canner and boil the jars covered with water for 10 minutes. Depending on the sugar amount the jam can last about two years when stored in a cool, dry place. (Sugar acts as an preservative – binding water molecules in bound form. Same as salt, pectin, gum or honey.)
Use of Rose hip jam
Once the jam si done you will be surprised how tasty it is and how easily it can turn an ordinary dish into culinary speciality:
- Use rosehip jam to make raw rose hip cookies
- rose hip jam is ideal for Christmas jam-filled cookies for its colour and taste.
- It’s very popular in my country as a sauce which goes wonderfully with game meat.
- add your rosehip jam full of vitamins into white plain yoghurt instead of eating commercial sweet yoghurts
- by combining with red wine you can make a marinade for your meat
- when making a cheese sandwich, don’t forget to spread a bit of rosehip jam over it.
- Pour a spoon or two into vanilla ice cream or any kind of ice cream you like.
- Add a spoon or two to the dressing to pour over your salad.
- Don’t forget to put a few spoons into the oatmeal you made for breakfast.
- use it as filling for your pancakes
Let us know how you used your rose hip jam in our Facebook group.
I would love to see your images
Popular fruit combinations that go with rose hips to make a jam
I guess the most popular is to combine the rose hips with apples but other fruits will work as well like cherries, grapes, elderberries, strawberries, blackberries, black currant, raspberries, apricots or blueberries.