Rose hips contain Vitamins A, D and E and are known to be the richest plant sources of vitamin C. Since moving to the countryside and having the luck of having a few rose bushes in my garden I simply had to try out this old school war time recipe. The discovery of rose hip’s high vitamin C content happened during World War II, due to the shortage of citrus fruit. The British government organized the harvesting of as many rose hips as possible in England as a substitute source for vitamin C, apparently getting the children involved and paying them 3 pence per pound of rose hips collected! Here is a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - I actually only found 500g of rose hips, so I divided this recipe in half of course. It turned out really tasty, and so I couldn't resist making a delicious autumnal cocktail with it!
For 1kg of hips:
Put two litres of water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Throw in the chopped rosehips, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for half an hour, stirring from time to time.
Strain the mixture through a jelly bag or cheese cloth.
Set the strained juice aside and transfer the rosehip pulp back to the saucepan, along with another litre of boiling water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, infuse for another half an hour and strain as before. Discard the pulp and combine the two lots of strained juice in a clean pan. Bring to the boil, and boil until the volume has decreased by half. Remove from the heat.
Add 1kg of sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to the stove, bring to the boil and boil hard for five minutes. Pour into warmed, sterilized jars or bottles and seal.
It is advisable to use small bottles as the syrup will not keep for more than one week or two once the bottle is opened. Store in a dark cupboard.