Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rosehip Jelly.

Whenever Fall finally begins to show itself, I get so domestic. I just want to cook and bake and try new seasonal recipes (and old seasonal recipes of course---apple pie, anyone?). I just love to see the foliage change colors and fruits ripen. Who doesn't? Fall is wonderful!

Since I work outside all summer, I get to keep a pretty good eye on the plants as they change. There were some particularly nice-looking rose bushes at the Whitefish property we tend (although these rose bushes fall into the "nasty plants that hit you in the face while you're trimming and mowing around them" category). As summer progressed, the delicate flowers gave way to little green orbs. Then those little green orbs filled and began to change to a beautiful, crimson color.

A lot of times rosehips go unnoticed, or are prevented from forming by gardeners nipping the spent flower heads to tidy up the bush. But rosehips are a treasure trove of nutrients and deserve a little respect!

Whenever you research rosehips you always read about their vitamin C content which is higher than that in citrus fruits (if you prepare them properly, though...).

Rugosa variety. Image from
You may be wondering what rosehips taste like. The answer: it varies. All varieties of rose produce edible hips (make sure they aren't sprayed, treated or along a busy highway...) but the fruit tastes different from plant to plant. The best tasting rosehips come from the Rugosa rose variety. The shrub is quite robust. The leaves are almost waxy-looking and sometimes crinkly. The hip produced is pretty large, globular and deep red to reddish-orange. The flavor of the hip is sort of like a "citrusy-plummy-apple", I'd say. The flesh on rosehips from rugosa varieties is thicker than on others. This is a good thing; you'll get more out of them. You can't eat the seeds of rosehips. They are covered in stiff, silky hairs that would simply wreak havoc on your intestines. They'd gag you going in and be itchy-scritchy going out.

You can certainly scratch the seeds out if you wanted to use the hips to make jam or pies (that'd be a whole lot of work!) but feel free to leave them in to make syrup or jelly--you strain out the seeds and pulp and just keep the juice. You can also dry the rosehips, seeds and all, to make vitamin-packed tea.

I managed to gather enough to make two batches of rosehip jelly.
I went for a nice jelly recipe and did my research. I found the best recipe from I advise you to absolutely check out the post here for more detailed instructions as well as some wonderful photos. (I had taken photos of my process, but I lost the usb for my camera... hasn't turned up yet! Her photos are certainly better than mine anyway.)

*2 quarts (8cups) washed rosehips--stems and flower ends trimmed off (***Note*** if you don't have enough rosehips, you can add enough chopped apple (use a sweet variety) to make 8 cups of material)
*1.5quarts (6 cups) water
*1/2 cup lemon juice
*1 package of SureJell pectin (Use the one that says No Sugar Needed)
*1/4 TEASPOON butter
*3.5 cups sugar
*6 sterilized 8oz canning jars and lids

-Place prepared rosehips and water in large pot (I read that aluminum pots strip out the Vitamin C though..)
-Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until hips are soft enough to mash up (1 hr). It smells like raspberry syrup when it's cooking!
-Mash with potato masher then place the mash in a jelly bag drain juices for an hour.
****NOTE**** I used new, rinsed nylons as my strainer. I filled the foot of the nylons with my mash (careful, it's hot!) then set it in a colander on top of a bowl. Works like a charm. You can also use a tea rag or a clean, old T-shirt and set it up in the colander.
-You want to get 3 cups of juice. You can squeeze the bag a little to release more or pour a little water through the bag.
-Put the 3 cups of juice in a large, wide pot. Add in lemon juice and pectin.
-Bring to a boil, dissolving the pectin---add the sugar. Dissolve. Then add the butter.
-Bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute (you could ruin the pectin)
****NOTE**** to test the jelly and see if you like the thickness, have a spoon sitting in a glass of ice water. Remove the spoon and place a little of the jelly mixture on the cold spoon. If it doesn't set up to your ideal gel, add in a little more pectin. 
-Don't forget to start simmering the lids!
-Pour the jelly mixture into the sterilized (run them through the dishwasher or boil them 10 minutes) jars leaving 1/4 inch space. Wipe the rims of the jars, place the lids, then screw on the rings. 
-Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Taa-Daaaaaa! There's your jam!

However. As much as I'd have liked for my jelly to turn out perfectly the first time... it didn't. My jelly didn't set properly and was more like a syrup. (Those little *NOTE*s are from my subsequent research and my round 2). You can leave the jelly as a syrup. It's perfectly swell for pancakes and waffles and ice cream---and even taking a spoonful for a vitamin C boost.
I wanted jelly though. So I looked up how to fix runny jelly...
Here ya go! Check out the website for detailed instructions and different variations... and a German lesson:
You need:
*Jars of jelly to be fixed
*No Sugar Needed Pectin (I use powdered)
*Lemon juice
*Sugar (yes, more...)

This recipe is for fixing one QUART of jam. You can math it up to adjust ratios.
-Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water (or better yet, more rosehip juice if you have it), 2T lemon juice and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin in a large pot.
-Bring to boil and stir. Add the jelly that needs fixing and bring to a boil again over high heat, stirring constantly.
-Boil hard for 45 -60 seconds (test jelly with cold spoon)
-Remove from heat and fill sterilized jars. Place NEW lids (the old ones wont work anymore) and screw on rings.
-Process 10 minutes in boiling water.

My jelly did turn out this time after fixing it. And the second batch I made was perfecto! No fixing needed.
Rosehip jelly is just delicious and makes a great gift too. So I decided I'd like to dress them up a little bit and give them away. That is the best part of cooking after all! 
I got to use my brother's camera for these photos.

I started by hand-painting little tags to tie to the jars. They look a little like this picture (not tag-sized). I wanted to get kind of a vintage look to the painting and used gouache, ink and graphite on a cream-colored heavier, but smooth paper. I was going to scan in the tags to put on this post but I got too excited and tied them all onto the jars right away!
I tied them to the jars with a thin hemp cording that I like to use to make bracelets and stuff. 
The camera doesn't do the tag justice... and pardon our awful, yellow lighting.

After tying on the tags, my brother suggested that they would look nicer if they had a little fabric top or something to make them look more put-together. Good idea! I remembered that I have a whole bunch of neat calico fabric from when I attempted to make a braided rug last fall (I never did finish that... oops.). I have it in blue, cream and brown.
I went with the brown. It has a nice fall-like feel... I used an empty yogurt container to draw out my circles on the back side and the size was pretty much perfect! Special thanks to my wonderful daddy who helped me get the fabric circles screwed neatly (and evenly) into the rings. I am no good at that precise positioning and measuring stuff.
Place the fabric circle onto the sealed lid. Carefully screw the ring onto the jar. The fabric will pull an pucker as you tighten the ring. Make sure you keep the fabric tight on the top to keep it looking neat.
I ended up with a little something like this!

There you have it! It was wonderfully fun! I would love to have orchards upon orchards of roses so I can make lots more of these to share. But for those of you who do have a few rose bushes, do try out this lovely recipe!


  1. Love the labels! So glad you liked the jelly recipe. We make it every year.

  2. I love my (...your) rosehip jelly! <3