Vitamin C-Bomb

Right about this time of year is when the gate-crashing usually starts. My 4-year-old and 8-year-old bring the uninvited guests home from school. First sniffles, then coughs, and finally all-night hacking. The cycle repeats itself through the winter on a seemingly endless loop of crusty noses, balled-up tissue paper, and general grumpiness.

Whoever discovers a cure for the common cold will be richer than Midas, if not richer than the guy who can make hangovers go away, but in the meantime we’ve got vitamin C. It just so happens that rosehips—the red, globular fruit of the rose—have vitamin C in spades. I picked some the other day with food reporter Leslie Kelly, who writes for the Amazon food blog Aldente among other publications. This was urban foraging at its best, with good views of float planes landing on Lake Union and the Space Needle looming overhead. Leslie even filmed a bit of the action.

They say hips are at their best after first frost but I don’t have time to wait until Halloween before visitors scarier than trick-or-treaters start knocking at the door. With about a quart’s worth I made syrup. It’s pretty simple. First grind the hips in a food processor, then cover with water and simmer for 30 or so minutes before running the mush through a food mill and then straining out the pulp. You can save the pulp for other purposes. The strained juice goes back in the pot with sugar—or better yet, honey—to taste, and any other odds and ends such as cloves, cinnamon, or ginger—and voila: a Vitamin C-Bomb that can be mixed into juice or water for the kids—or used for more gustatory purposes in desserts, sauces, jams, or even cocktails.

So next time you’re out and about and you spy some of those bright red vitamin C-bombs, do the hip shake, babe.

11 thoughts on “Vitamin C-Bomb

  1. Gwen

    Very cool. I’m living in a city covered with scrubby little roses with huge early hips, and really want to make use of them. I’ll have to see how a syrup cooks up.

    I’ve also seen reference to people cooking rose hips like vegetables, but I’m not sure precisely how that would work. Do you have any more specific recipes you use?

  2. matt

    awesome stuff. kid’s really are petri dishes of germs aren’t they! I am sure I have walked past rosehips, thinking they looked cool, but not knowing what they are.

  3. LC

    Gwen – I’ve dried hips before to make tea, but this is my first experiment cooking them. You might check the jam & jelly recipes on Simply Recipes, or search for rosehip desserts.

    Matt – You’d love working with hips–beautiful to look at and really good flavor.

    Multivitamins – Thanks for dropping by and glad I could be of service.

    Tiff – A rose is a rose is a rose, as Gertrude Stein famously wrote. Some are more flavorful, but as far as I know they’re all edible, whether wild or cultivated.

  4. Nurit

    Oh, I think I’ve seen them around, but since I know close to nothing about picking food from the wild, or a city bush, I’m afraid to touch those and lther “things” that look like berries and such.
    I really should join a foraging club or somehting…

  5. Susan

    Hmmm. I’ve read many times that Vitamin C does not survive cooking – it is destroyed by heat. Wouldn’t that mean that the rosehips, whilst rich in Vitamin C when raw, would not be much use as a source of Vitamin C when used to make syrup, jam, tea or anything else involving cooking? That being said, the recipe sounds delicious, whether or not it contributes Vitamin C to the diet.


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