Fall and winter are the perfect times to go foraging for rose hips. During this time, the leaves have fallen off the rose plants so the rose hips are easy to see. We harvested wild rose hips while out in the mountains and we also harvested rose hips from the domestic rose bushes on our property. They’re a free, all natural source of Vitamin C with so many different uses!
Identifying Rose Hips
A rosehip is the fruit of the rose bush. After the rose bush is done blooming and the flower petals have fallen off, the rose hip is what is left hanging on the bush. Rose hips are easy to spot because of their lovely orange to red color. By late fall when nothing else is blooming and most other berries are long past harvest time, you can’t miss the brightly colored orange and red rose hips.
A rose hip is unique because of the shape of its bottom. It basically looks like a red berry with a few feathery wisps coming out the bottom.
Rose hips vary in size but average about 1/4″ to 1 1/4″. We noticed that the wild rose hips are smaller whereas the rose hips from the bushes on our property are noticeably larger. Here is a picture of the rose hips from the rose bushes on our property that were twice the size of the wild rose hips we harvested.
Harvesting Rose Hips
When harvesting rose hips, it is good idea to wear leather gloves. The wild rose bushes that grow out here in Montana have small thorns on the branches just like the domesticated rose bushes on our property. If you wear a pair of leather gloves it will help protect your fingers from getting pricked by thorns and also helps the picking go faster. I’ve read that it is best to wait until after the first frost to harvest rose hips. They are easy to remove from the plant but the most challenging part of foraging for them is picking them without getting pricked by a thorn!
Drying Rose Hips
Rose hips can easily be dried by letting them sit out for a week or two. I placed a dish towel on top of a metal cookie sheet then sat the cookie sheet in the mud room with all our boxes of green tomatoes that needed to ripen. I actually forgot about them so they sat out for a few weeks so were good and dry! At this point, you can easily remove any of the dried leafy wisps from the bottom. Then place them in a jar with a lid and store them out of direct sunlight.
Health Benefits of Rose Hips
The main reason I wanted to harvest rose hips was for the natural vitamin C content. During cold and flu season, I prefer to boost our family’s immune system by natural forms of Vitamin C rather than having to take a Vitamin C supplement. We use our homemade elderberry syrup but I also wanted to have other natural sources of Vitamin C to boost our immune systems. I’ve read that wild rose hips have a higher concentration of Vitamin C than domesticated rose bushes. Either way, they still have Vitamin C so we harvested both. According to our favorite wild edibles identification book, rose hips also contain vitamins A, B, E and K.
Learn More about Foraging for Rose Hips and Other Wild Edibles
If you’re interested in learning more about foraging for rose hips and other wild edibles, I highly recommend the Herbal Academy Botany & Wildcrafting Course. This course is online and self paced so you can take it anywhere, anytime that works for you and your schedule! I’ve taken several online courses through the Herbal Academy and love that I can access such high quality courses from our rural homestead.
Recipes for Rose Hips
There are many uses for rose hips. One thing to note is that you shouldn’t eat them raw.
The book Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies noted that “The dry inner seeds are not palatable and their sliver-like hairs can irritate the digestive tract and cause ‘itchy bum’. All members of the Rose family have cyanide-like compounds in their seeds, destroyed by drying and cooking.”
- Rosehip tea: We use whole rose hips so there is no need to remove the seeds. If you cut your rose hips, you’ll need to remove the seeds so you don’t get digestive issues! Use about two heaping teaspoons of rose hips per cup of water. To make rose hip tea, pour boiling water over the rose hips and let them sit 10-15 minutes. Strain out the rose hips. I like to add some of our own raw honey to sweeten the tea a bit and add more health benefits from the raw honey.
- How to Make and Can Rose Hip Jelly
- Rosehip jam and Rosehip syrup
- How to Make Rose Hip and Apple Jelly
- Strawberry Rose Hips Jam
- Rose Hip Jam
- Hedgerow Jelly Recipe
- Rose Hip Chutney
- Autumn Pear and Rose Hip Compote
- Rose Hip Vinegar
- Rose Hip Ketchup
- Homemade Rose Hip Oil
- Rose Hip Leather
- Rose Hip Soup
- Mini Rose Hip Graham Crackers
- How to Make Fermented Rose Hip Soda
- Bottled Roses Kombucha
- Rose Hip Wine Recipe
- Candied Rose Hips
- Rose Hip Ripple Ice Cream
- Rose Hip Christmas Truffles
- Chocolate Elderberry and Rose Hip Ice Cream
- Rose Hip Truffles
- Elderberry and Rose Hip Gummies
- How to Make Raw Medicinal Honey with Ginger and Rose Hips
- Immune Boosting Elderberry and Rose Hips Tonic
- Elderberry and Rose Hip Syrup
We’re hoping to harvest more rose hips throughout the winter so we’ll have enough to make more rosehip goodies!
What are your favorite ways to use rose hips?