Scandinavian Rosehip

Scandinavian Rosehip

Rosehips, the berry like fruit of roses, have always been eaten by man and birds. They are regarded as a healthy treat and, especially in wartime and periods of famine, as an important source of vitamin C, but luckily, they are delicious. Learn more about Scandinavian rosehip.

How it grows

Any rose cultivate with sizable hips can be eaten. The hips from Rosa rugosa are the most widely used as the fruits are large and relatively easy to handle. But this rose is not indigenous to Scandinavia. It comes from Japan and is, in fact, a terrible weed, colonizing vast areas of sandy coastal ground.

Appearance and taste

The hips of wild ripen in early autumn and are usually scarlet. Some species have black or purple fruits. Inside the fruits is a large number of ivory seeds, used by children to tease each other as they itch terribly when they come in contact with soft skin.

Scandinavian Rosehip
Rosehip bush. Photo: Norsk institutt for biovitenskap.

The ripe rosehip is mushy, so hips must be picked just before ripeness if you want to use them for jam, in which the fruit is kept in beautiful, translucent halves (see receipt below). The taste is sweet and a bit bland. They are a little like overripe tomatoes, but will transform themselves with heat, sugar and a little acidity from lemon or vinegar and will have a delicious taste of their own.

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Buying and storing

Fresh rosehips are not sold in the shops, but they can be picked for free almost anywhere. They freeze well, and the seeds are actually easier to extract when frozen. Dried rosehips are available in health food shops and can be made into a delicious herbal tea or rosehip soup.

Health benefits

Rosehips contain a lot of vitamins C, D and E, calcium and a load of antioxidants. They are been considered as a treatment for gout Rosehip seed oil is rich in vitamin C and essential fatty acids, and is much used in skin care.

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Scandinavian Rosehip
Rosa rugosa comes from Japan and is, in fact, a terrible weed, colonizing vast areas of sandy coastal ground. Photo:

Culinary uses

The velvety flesh is used for a very popular fruit soup, especially in Sweden, and also in drinks, cordial, jam, jelly, and as filling in cakes. The seeds are not eaten, and must be taken out by hand if you are making jam. It’s a bit fiddly, and impossible if the fruit is overripe. If you want the fruits for soup or cordial, you can boil them in water as they are, with the seeds, and strain them from the liquid later.

With all rosehip preparation, it’s essential to add a fragrant acidity, as rosehips need this to balance their meaty blandness. Cider vinegar adds an even more fruity ripeness, lemon juice an exotic note.

Scandinavian Rosehip
Rosehips turn into a beautiful jam

Rosehip jam

This is a beautiful jam – translucent scarlet fruits suspended in clear orang syrup, and with a taste so exotic it’s hard to believe that the rosehips grow all the way to the Arctic Circle. The jam is very good on toast, and in cheese sandwiches.

Collect the hips from Rugosa roses, remove the remnants of the blossom, cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Rinse in a bowl of cold water, then dry.

2kg rosehips, rinsed

For the syrup,
600g sugar
1 liter water
200ml cider vinegar
Pared zest of 1 lemon, in thin strips

To finish, juice of 1 lemon

Boil the syrup ingredients in a large, non-corrosive pan. When the sugar has dissolved, drop in the rosehips and simmer until translucent. Take them out with a slotted spoon and divide among sterilized jars.

Reduce the syrup until thick and stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the fruit, then seal.

Scandinavian Rosehip, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image on top © AIPH


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