Monday, November 19, 2012

Foraging: Rose-hips

While researching the best time to forage for rose-hips I came across various time frames. Some sites said January or February while others claimed that early fall was appropriate. Most sites claimed that post-frost was the best time to forage for rose-hips. I decided that early November in Toronto would classify as post-frost (based on absolutely no evidence). Growing up in Saskatchewan, where it always snows before Halloween has really messed up my ability to determine weather patterns in the much warmer Southern Ontario! We headed out to my SECRET rose-hip foraging location on a whim one afternoon and I tossed ruby rose-hips into my shoulder bag. As this was my first time foraging for rose-hips so I did not know how much to pick or whether I would like the jam I planned on making with the rose-hips. 

I came home with about six cups of rose-hips which made one 250mL jar of jam. The recipe I used required me to seed the hips and boil them. They were then sieved. Sugar is added at a ratio of 2 cups puree and 1 cup sugar and cooked again. Then I water-processed the jam for 15 minutes.
I found the end result of this to be too cooked in flavor. The next time I make jam from rose-hips I will boil the seeded hips, sugar and water together. Pass through a strainer and test for jell. This is the same process with which I make grape jam. I find this process gives a final result that is fresh, light, and not overcooked.
Rose-hips are very high in vitamin C but do not eat the seeds! They are covered in tiny hairs that will (apparently) negatively affect your digestive tract!

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