"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nature's Candy

It was a beautiful day this past Wednesday and the snow along the river had melted away making it perfect for a late afternoon hike with the dog. One of the nice things about living in the Pacific Northwest is that even in the depths of winter one can secure a few wild edibles from the great outdoors. While our home and gardens are still under a covering of snow, a small drop in elevation and abnormally warm weather allowed us to be free from that for a time.

One of our favorite wild edibles that reaches it's peak only after cold weather has set in is that of the wild rose bushes fruit...rose hips. These little citrusy apple flavored pods are so very sweet this time of year it truly is a form of nature's candy. My wife and I like to collect rose hips in the fall and use them in her teas but my favorite way to consume them, and one that no doubt benefits us the most, is fresh from the bush they grow on. Extremely high in immune system boosting nutrition what could possibly be a better winter snack than this treasure provided from nature at no cost to us other than the time it takes to gather and chew?

The seed itself can be pressed for oil and is being studied for its medicinal properties. The young spring leaves and flowers are also quite edible.

41 comments:

Dani said...

Rose Hips - now I know what they are.

Can one eat all rose hips - wild or not?

Do you only eat the yellow seed inside or the whole pod?

Fascinating - thank you.

Daphne said...

I occasionally collected wild rose hips for tea when I was a kid. Now I didn't like them (not uncommon when I was young), but my parents did. I wonder if I'd like them now?

Heiko said...

Rosehip jelly! Hmmmmm. or hip soup...

Kelle said...

What a find! We're lucky to find a small handful in our area. Just love them and they are so.... good for you. :o)

Blessings,
Kelle

~Holly~ said...

Facinating! I've never seed "fresh" rose hips before. I never knew they were a berry. Thanks for teaching me something new today! I'm in Oregon so I'm loving your posts!

Geno said...

One of our favorite wild edibles! Of course the kids usually eat them all first...

Buttons said...

Mr. H. Thank you I don't know if we have these or not. I am certainly going to look. They sound like something I would truly love to find and enjoy. B

Stefaneener said...

Those look terrific. I tried cooking domestic rose hips this year, but I don't think they were ripe enough. Your report makes me want tea.

kitsapFG said...

I have never actually just eaten them fresh off the bush - always in tea or in rosehip jelly. We have a lot of wild roses growing in our coastal area - I need to go find a bush and try the fresh eating option myself! They are sure pretty to look at too... so cheery red against the grey/brown background of the winter landscape.

meemsnyc said...

I saw rosehips on my parent's climbing rose bush for the first time this year. I had no idea you could eat it. Do rose hips grow on all types of roses and are all of them edible?

WeekendFarmer said...

ok...I want some bad : ) !!! What can I send you in return? Maybe some Benagli seeds. I will dig out.

Diane@Peaceful Acres Farm said...

Wow, that's incredible. I thought they were cranberries bc our rose hips are so much smaller. AND I'm not sure it's fair that we have 14" of snow on the ground and you don't!!! What's with that?! :)

Mr. H. said...

Dani - As far as I am aware all rose hips are edible, but not all taste good. Some people use the seeds for medicinal purposes but we only use the flesh of the little fruits.

Daphne - You really must try a wild variety after there have been a few frosts...the flavor improves dramatically. If you do let me know what you think...good or bad.:)

Heiko - Hip soup? That sounds good. What a wonderful food that nature has provided for us. Hope you are doing well...it's your turn for a wild edible post.:)

Kelle - We are very lucky to live in an area where they apparently thrive in the wild...everywhere we go there are these giant wild rose bushes. So very pretty when they are all in bloom.

Holly - Hello neighbor. Yes, the real ones do indeed look much different than that white powder found in a vitamin C tablet don't they...and taste better too.:)

Geno - What better trail snack could one want. When we hike around the mountain lakes in Bonners Ferry we often find service berries, Twin berries, black currants, huckleberries, wild raspberries, and if we are not too high up, wild rose bushes. A veritable smorgasbord of nutrition.:)

Buttons - the native Americans had many uses for wild rose bushes and I have read that the buffalo made good use of them as well. I wonder if cows would eat them? We gave some to our chickens the other day and they did not seem too interested. If you find some and try them let me know what you think...they taste great this time of year.

Stefaneener - My wife loves her rose hip tea too.:) Apparently some do taste much better than others and these wild ones that grow around our area are pretty sweet. The dried ones do need to be boiled for about 10 minutes before imparting a nice flavor.

Laura - You will have to try them.:) Just be careful not to swallow the little hairs inside the hips as they will make your throat itch. I read that some of the wild varieties have 100 times the Vitamin C of an orange...keep those school germs at bay.:)

Meemsync - As far as I know they are all edible and most rose bushes do have these seed pods. Some of the wild ones are supposed to taste better than the domestic ones though...that said, I have never eaten a domestic one before.

WeekendFarmer - Send me an email with your address and I would be happy to send some your way. Are you asking for the hips or the seeds?

Diane - What's up with the snow? In inches I think we have had more than you so far this year but it is almost all melted. Strange weather again this year, but perfect for rose hip gathering.:)

kelli said...

amazing! i need to search for local wild edibles. they must be full of nutrients. please leave some for the animals;)

rachelanwen said...

Over here in the UK, wild or dog roses grow all over the place. During the war years, because of the shipping being sunk and it therefore not being possible to import fruit, a lack of vitamin C in the diet was a major issue. British schoolchildren would gather rose hips as part of a government initiative- these hips were turned into a syrup with a vitamin c content that put the orange to shame! I love seeing the pretty flowers in the summer, and knowing what an iumportant role they've played in our history. Isn't nature amazing?!

contadina said...

I recently pruned our rose bushes and saved the rosehips for tea and syrup, but I had no idea you could snack on them :-)

Mr. H. said...

Kelli - We always leave some for the animals.:) I know that Squirrles, deer, moose, rabbits, coyotes, bears, and even our dog Rowdy likes them. I think you would like how the wild ones taste too and they would go great in a smoothy.

Rachelanwen - How neat is that, and too bad that school children no longer reap the benefits of these wonderful edibles. I will have to read up on their history in the UK, how very interesting and yes from what I've read the vitamin C content is absolutely amazing.:)

Contandina - Yes, they make for a great trail snack, everytime we go out for a walk we try to snack on a few if they are available. They taste so good this time of year, very soft and sweet. The hard part is sqeezing out all of the prickly insides so that you can eat the flesh.

Mrs. Mac said...

I enjoyed reading the war story of the rose hips use. I've picked them in the fall .. but never thought about giving them a try after a good freeze. Will have to go hunting for some in the backyard .. although that little river jaunt sounds nice too.

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac - When we drive into town to drop off the grandson with his father we always try to stop along the Spokane River to walk the dog on the way home. There are rose hips just about everywhere along the river it seems.

Mavis said...

I had no idea you could eat rose hips... I thought they were for potpourri... That's what happens when you live in suburbia I guess...

Ms. Adventuress said...

I never realized (until now) that whenever I see these bushes, I can pluck and consume those little red cute things. Thank you! (They're everywhere around here.)

Elizabeth said...

I am REALLY enjoying your blog. Since I just found you, I've been reading your back entries at night after the kids go to bed. I get a mug of tea, snuggle into my robe and wool socks and read into the night. You and the Mrs. are very inspirational and I am learning a lot.
Thank you for your dedication and for sharing your experiences.
Elizabeth

Mr. H. said...

Mavis - And I didn't know they were for potpourri...see we both learned something new today.:) Anyway, you should try some because as they say a rose him a day keeps the kids germs at bay.:)

Ms. Adventuress - Yes you can eat them and they are very, very healthy...but, some do taste better than others and they are full of little prickly hairs so eat carfully.:)

Elizabeth - I'm so glad you are enjoying the blog, some of my posts, especially the older ones, are a little corny so you might be laughing your self to sleep. Thank you so much for your kind words.:)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Oh wow that is the berry that make rose hip oil? I have never seen the tree before. It is very pretty. How nice to be able to do wild berry picking many times in a year.

vrtlarica ana said...

We have a lot of rose hip bushes around here. I have tried few times to collect the seeds and sow them in my garden. So far without success.

We make tea with them, but I never tried to eat them fresh. Are they any good when dried? I have some dried that I planted to sow this spring.

Mr. H. said...

Malay-Kadazan girl - Yes, they extract oil from the seeds as it contaons high amounts of vitamin A. I believe this variety is Rosa rubiginosa also called Eglantine Rose.

Vrtlarica Ana - From what I have read the seeds in the hips should be removed before the hip drys out and planted in the fall so that they can go through a period of cold stratification in order to break dormancy and germinate...this is neccessary for many cool climate fruit and berry seeds. I planted some this past fall so it will be interesting to see how many of them germinate for us.

The seeds can also be removed and put into a bag of slightly damp soil and kept in the refridgerator for at least 90 days and then planted in the garden. They can take up to a month to germinate and the rate of germination is not supposed to be really high so planting a good amount might be important. So you might try planting those dry ones right now or keeping them in the fridge for a time and planting late in the spring.

Year Round Vegetable Gardener said...

Wow.. what plump looking hips - rose hips, I mean! :) They are so beautiful, but i can't believe the birds haven't gotten to them yet! They are very high in vitamins and here in NS, rose hip jelly is very common - as is tea. I'm hoping to plant at least a dozen roses this summer.. I'll have to consider the winter interest of the hips, as well as the summer blooms.. Thanks for this!
Niki

Mr. H. said...

Niki - I suppose that I really must try making up some rose hip jelly one of these years as I have never tried it. The same spot where we gather these rose hips also provides an abundance of wild parsley, sage, black and red hawthorn berries, morel mushrooms, wild onions, asparagus, saskatoon berries and no doubt many more wild edibles that I have yet to uncover...truly amazing. And yes, the birds are very kind and leave most everything.:)

The Cottage Garden Farmer said...

As Rachelanwen said above, Rose Hip Syrup was given to all children in the fifties in the UK. I resurected the old war time recipe for a blog post myself last year and made some syrup which was delicious on pancakes and ice cream as well as being just good for you! All rosehips work for this, the tiny wild dog rose ones, or the big fat rugosas. Kathy

Sense of Home said...

What a wonderful way to get your vitamin C. You have no snow, it looks warm, I'm jealous. It is time for spring to come.

-Brenda

Ohiofarmgirl said...

*OFG standing outside with Dog#1 beside rose bush, punching each other in the arm, daring each other to take a taste*
OFG: you try it
dog: you try it
OFG: Ham?
dog: sounds good...
;-)

so.. what do they taste like?

Faith said...

Rose hips sound great. Ours are usually gone by this time of year. Maybe a project for a later date.

Mr. H. said...

Kathy - I just finished reading your post on rose hip syrup, thank you for sharing this. What could be better than a syrup full of vitamin C.:)

Brenda - We have been in and out of warm (40°) weather all winter long. beleive it or not we have recieved a fair amount of snow but it is mostly melted now. This mornings temperature is only 3°but when the sun is shining it is not too bad out.

Ohiofarmgirl - I suprised the dog did not like them...they taste just like bacon.:) Seriously though, the good ones have a sweet citrus flavor to them...we like them.

Faith - Ours seem to stay on the bush for quite some time. Of course, it helps that the animals don't seem to find the ones along the river.

Eliza @ Appalachian Feet said...

Wow, that rose is definitely generous with its hip production! I'm glad you mentioned harvesting this time of year, I thought I was a little too late to pick mine.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

well now, if there is bacon involved
;-)
ps yay we still have the lights on!

Ms. Adventuress said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about The Tree. You are so right. Health is our wealth!

Elizabeth said...

Loaded with vitamin C and a few other mild phytochemicals, as per Dr. Duke. How lovely to have that burst of red in the dead of winter. I wish I could taste one.
Peace & Raw Health,
E

Mr. H. said...

Eliza - All I know is that the ones we have been picking sure do taste good and yes, some of those bushes sure are loaded..:)

Ohiofarmgirl - I saw on the news last night just one big swath of nasty weather going right through Ohio. The only thinh we are getting is a bit of cold...nothing too abnormal though. Lots of sunshine too, the weather girl called in cosmetic sunshine and blue bird skys...she really did and now we just might have to make fun of her forever.:)

Ms. Adventuress - Yep, I wouldn't take all the gold in Fort Knox in trade for poor health.

Elizabeth - You would appreciate their citrusy flavor and no doubt make good use of them. From an article I just read -

"Not all hips have high concentrations of Vitamin C. Domestic roses, such as the ones you find in your yard are lower in Vitamin C than their wild counterparts. Wild varieties, such as the Rosa canina or R. Rugosa can contain between 1500-2500 grams of Vitamin C per 100 grams of weight. Oranges on the other hand, contain around 53 mgs of Vitamin C per 100 grams of weight."

The ones we pick off are the Rosa Rugosa variety as near as I can tell...what an amazing plant.:)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Well we should make fun of her! But not you.. pop on by.. I have a little something for you
:-)

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

This is an inspriation! We have a lot of wild roses on our property that I have no bothered with. This year I am gonig to collect the hips and make jelly! I might even move a few of the closer to the house and cultivate them a bit just for that purpose!

Mr. H. said...

Sheryl - That's great, I have yet to make jelly with them but really should give it a try too.:)

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