Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Rosehip Syrup

Having made Hedgerow Jelly, thus fulfilling a small ambition to use rosehips for a culinary purpose, I had the urge to make further use of these plentiful fruits.  The Jelly is gorgeous, but the over-riding flavour is of apples.  I wanted to taste the rosehips in their full glory.

It wasn't difficult to gather a generous colander-full whilst on a local walk.

Once again I turned to Pam Corbin's fabulous Preserves book, and this time thought I would try Rosehip Syrup.  Rich in Vitamins A and C, Rosehip Syrup was a staple drink for generations past.  During World War Two members of the public were actually paid to collect rosehips for this syrup, in order that the nation's children could be kept healthy. 

The recipe is simplicity itself, although does require some forethought as the rosehip pulp needs to be left overnight to drip.

Rosehip Syrup

Makes about 1.5 litres.

500g rosehips, rinsed, stalks removed
650g granulated sugar

Put 800ml water in a pan and bring to the boil.

Mince the rosehips in a food processor, and add them to the pan of water.  Cover and bring back to the boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Pour through a scalded muslin or jelly bag and leave to drip for an hour or so.

Set aside the strained juice.

Bring another 800ml of water to the boil, add the rosehip pulp and repeat the boiling process.

Tip the mixture back into the bag/muslin and this time leave to drip overnight.

The next day discard the rosehip pulp (I added it to our compost bin) and combine both lots of strained juice (which should be about 1 litre) in a large pan.

Add the sugar and heat, stirring until dissolved.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, then immediately pour into warm sterilised bottles and secure with a screw-cap or cork.

Use within 4 months.

Pam (for I feel like we can be on first-name terms now!) suggests drinking the syrup mixed with hot water - I'd imagine this to be particularly good as an attempt to ward off the inevitable winter cold - or drizzled neat over rice pudding or pancakes.  Co-incidentally my brother-in-law had also been making rosehip syrup during the same week.  He combined it in equal parts with gin and presented us with a bottle as a gift...  I think Pam should add this to her list of recommended uses for it! 

It's nice to think that we'll be drinking and eating memories of this Autumn well into the coming Winter.

No, we haven't yet had our first frost!  This picture was taken last December.  
I love how the rosehips last so long into the Winter.