The rosehip is a sign that winter’s on its way. Let us tell you all about the effects and uses of this wonderful fruit.
When autumn is coming, the first leaves are falling and the bushes are becoming bare, one fruit in particular stands out among the branches: the rosehip. Its fiery red colour makes a powerful impression, but its true strength lies hidden inside.
In technical terms, a rosehip refers to the aggregate fruit of a rose plant. However, the term is most commonly used for the soft-centred fruits of the dog rose, which are traditionally collected in autumn.
What’s inside the fruit?
The autumn fruit is full of one thing in particular: vitamin C. This makes the rosehip the perfect immune booster, and it also contains provitamin A and the B vitamins thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2). The bright autumn red of rosehips comes from a pigment and antioxidant called lycopene. In addition, the skin contains pectin, which is one of the water-insoluble dietary fibres. 100 g of rosehips contain a whole quarter of your recommended intake of calcium.
In addition to their immune-strengthening effect, rosehips are also considered to be diuretic and diaphoretic. They also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Scientific studies indicate that these characteristics can lead to pain relief in osteoarthritis patients.
Where can I find rosehips and when is it time to pick them?
Rosehips prefer a sunny location, where the last of the warm sunshine helps ripen the fruit. Although the fruits of the rose family are not poisonous, those of the dog rose are the most palatable for consumption. They can sometimes be confused with related species of wild rose whose fruits are a similar shape and colour. But how can you be sure that the hips you see ripening in the autumn are from a dog rose? The hips of a dog rose are oval, while other roses have rounder and much harder fruits. In addition, the sepals at the base of the hip are smaller on the dog rose than other wild roses.
The aggregate fruits of the dog rose can be eaten both in their firm skin or in a soft form. Pick a few hips from the dog rose as a little snack between meals the next time you go for a walk. However, rosehips only achieve their full aroma when the flesh is soft. But how can you tell the right time to pick them? As soon as you can gently push in the skin of the fruit, the flesh is soft enough for processing. The first ripe rosehips can be found from the end of September. You can harvest them right through to the next spring, provided hungry birds don’t get there first.
Before you eat them, make sure you take out the seeds inside. These are covered with fine, barbed hairs that cause itching on the skin and should not be eaten or used with the rest of the fruit. This means it’s a good idea to put on gloves when picking the fruits.
How can I use rosehips?
The inside of the fruit is also called the flower base. It tastes sweet and sour and, true to its botanical origin, has a slightly rosy flavour.
Would you like to enjoy the unique tastes of rosehip as a sweet spread? Then try rosehip purée. Fully ripe specimens are best for this. To make the purée, boil the rosehips whole and then mash them through a sieve. This removes the inedible seeds and preserves the essence – the buttery pulp. Soft-boiled apples complement the flavour of the rosehip and add another sweet nuance to the purée.
But drying the fruit also brings benefits. That’s because the rosehip can also unfold its effect as a tea. In addition, the dried form of the fruit keeps much longer than fruit purée does. Before you dry the rosehips, carefully remove the seeds. To preserve the valuable nutrients, gentle drying at no more than 40 °C is best. After drying, you can also make the rosehips into powder if you have a powerful blender. Powdered rosehips are not only great on muesli, but are also a luxurious addition to smoothies or sauces.
Have you ever heard of oxymel? It’s is a soured honey drink with mystical origins. The main ingredients of oxymel are honey, followed by vinegar, herbs, fruits and whatever spices you like. The mixture infuses for three to four weeks, allowing the watery solution to pick up specific nutrients. The oxymel is then ready to drink. If the sour note is too pronounced, you can use the sweet and sour drink as a dressing for your autumn salad. The drink is said to have a positive effect on fat metabolism, which is currently being verified by scientific research.
Long before the shiny red fruits appear, you can already make good use of roses in summer. Between May and July, their flowers beguile us with their scent. The flowers can be used to make rose vinegar, for example. The delicate specimens also offer nutrients for your skin. For example, the blossoms can be used to make a refreshing facial tonic with a delicate rose scent. Even the seeds are used in natural cosmetics. They contain unsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid for clear skin and protection against dryness.
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