Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hips Don't Lie (a little more about rose hips)

So, I felt the need to add on to the previous post concerning rose hips. I wanted to sort of fill in some blanks that I may have left without intending to do so.

First of all, I just want to say every rose produces hips, and all rose hips are safe to eat (just make sure that the plant you are getting them off of is a rose! Also be cautious of the use of pesticides!). The hip is the fruit of the plant, and while all roses produce hips some roses will have tastier hips than others. Yes, not all hips are super tasty, they are all a great source of vitamin C, but some species of rose have better tasting hips than others. Further research into this matter shows that the dog rose (rosa canina) has the tastiest hips of all of the rose species. This wild rose is a climber, and can be trained into a shrub. It produces bright red hips that are typically oblong in shape. Unless it has something to climb on this plant will typically only grow to be about 3 feet tall (1 meter), but if it has something to climb on it can reach heights of 15 feet (5m)!

When harvesting rose hips it's said to wait four months after they have formed (oops!) before gathering them. At this point you can either solely collect the seeds or you can also prep the fruit for making jelly, wine, or whatever else your little heart desires to make with the hips. Just a word of caution, the little hairs on the inside of the fruit need to be removed before cooking the fruit, and the little hairs are sometimes used to make itching powder, so be a little careful when cleaning the fruit. If you want to harvest the seeds out of them soak the seeds overnight, discard the ones that float to the top because these seeds are not ready and will most likely not germinate if you plant them. Now you're ready to plant those little guys and see what comes up!

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