A few years ago now I did a one day “course” on foraging. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but then got round to after making that first initial effort. I think I’ll need to repeat if I’m to do it seriously, and safely, as most of what I learnt that day has disappeared along with a few brain cells. However, a recent conversation with my mom, reminded me about the rose hip and how it was supposed to be one of the easiest things to forage and to use.
I remember the guy taking us round the hedgerows saying you could use them to make tea by just adding hot water and leaving to steep for 10 minutes. With that now stuck in my head, I decided to – finally – give it a go. So, off I went, collecting a handful of rose hips on my trip home from the school run. Not knowing how this would work out, I didn’t grab too many – just enough, it turned out, for one cup of tea.
Once home, I decided I needed to check on just what I should do next (better late than never right?) and found a wealth of websites with a range of different methods for making tea. There was the “put them in a mug and leave them to steep” method but most recommended drying them first, either by leaving them in them sun to dry – no good as it’s rained where I am for the last week, stringing them up and leaving them to dry out – which takes about a week, or using a dehydrator or oven on low heat to dry them out.
I chose the latter as it seemed the easiest and quickest. First up, though, I rinsed them thoroughly and cut them open to remove the seeds. Again, I had read on a couple of sites you didn’t need to do this but most recommended it – the covering on the seeds can, apparently, be used to make itching powder so I thought it wise. It was a bit fiddly if I’m honest but I felt better for having done it.
Once done, I left them in the oven for about an hour at 90°F until they were dried out and, when cool, crushed them using a pestle and mortar; other sites said to use a food processor but as I had so few I didn’t see the point of making more mess than I needed to.
(BTW, I also found out that, at this point, despite the claim that rose hips are rich in vitamin c by the time they are dried out most of this has gone – there’s still some but not that much and if you buy pre-made rose hip tea it often has vitamin c added – just thought it worth mentioning if you are thinking this will get you your vitamin c fix for the day).
Once the rose hips were crushed I put in the tea pot and left to soak for about 10 minutes. What I got was a pale pink tea that wasn’t as fragrant or as strong in taste as I expected. It wasn’t unpleasant but I wonder if I should have added some honey or something else to up the taste factor. It was, however, pretty so that’s something.
Have you every tried to make rose hip tea – and what did you think? Did I get something wrong in my recipe (or was it the lack of recipe) that meant I didn’t get the taste I needed?
I can’t say that I have any huge desire to try it again at the moment but I might if I can find more ways of drinking it. Plus it is said to be good for digestion and bad stomachs and lowering cholesterol so if any of these strike, I may go a-foraging again. Or I may try something else – I noticed some damsons whilst I was out this morning and I have always wanted to make jam…
p.s., here are some of the sites I found useful in my experiment…
I can’t vouch for them but they definitely helped me.