October has brought a distinctive change in the weather, and with it, an influx of sniffles, coughs and colds. We flick the switch on the central heating and the onslaught from the invisible invaders begins; are our immune systems caught off-guard in the ambush?
Our go-to remedy is hot Elderberry Cordial, but I’m not entirely sure what happened to the elderberries this year – whether it was a short season, a poor crop, an influx of birds (or foragers) or just my poor timing, I missed out and had little opportunity to bottle up any of their medicinal goodness.
So here’s another of nature’s hedgerow miracles, the humble rosehip.
Packed with an insane amount of vitamin C, the little red fruits of the rose family have been used by man for centuries. Commonly used to make tea, I personally recall the bright red hips from my days at primary school in Cheshire, where little hands reached through the fence to harvest them as a remarkably potent source of ‘itching powder’. Every hip is packed full of seeds, each covered in tiny irritant hairs that you really want to avoid. Kids can be pretty cruel to each other at times.
Take care when foraging rosehips as it’s all too easy to shred your hands on the thorny bushes – wear gloves or snip the hips off with secateurs.
- 1kg Rosehips, washed
- 1 ltr Water
- 500g Granulated sugar
You’ll also need muslin cloth for straining and sterilised jars or bottles for storing.
I like to trim the hips but it’s not essential.
- Roughly chop the rosehips in a food processor and pop them in a large pan with the water.
- Bring it to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the hips and their pesky hairs through a double layer of muslin cloth, squeezing out as much liquid as you can.
- Strain the liquid again through a couple of layers of muslin cloth into a clean pan and add the sugar.
- Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring the mix back to the boil for 3-4 minutes.
It’s advisable to bottle the syrup in small quantities as it will need refrigerating once opened.