"Gardening makes my heart bloom" -- mum

"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat." -- Confucius

Friday, 8 October 2010

Rose hip jam

I had not considered roses as being 'edible' until recently when I noticed that the rose bush by the front door was absolutely dripping with rose hips.  The hips had turned a beautiful fire engine red and I thought it would be a terrible waste to let them fall to the ground.

Having read that jam, syrup, jelly, soup, pie and even wine could be made out of rose hips, I decided to give jam-making a go. 

I 'googled' and found this popular recipe from the 1700s:  1 pound prepared rose hip pulp, 1 cup water and 1 pound sugar.  There were no specifics on how to 'prepare' the hips - it seemed everyone had a different method.  Here's how I made mine......

Harvest carefully, wearing gloves and an old jacket to prevent scratches to oneself. 
Put the very ripe and soft fruit aside.  Select fruit which are firm and trim off both ends.
Cut these in half and scrape off the seeds with the sharp end of a vegetable peeler or knife. Try not to touch the hairy seeds (more on that later).
To prepare the softer fruit, hold firm the stem of the fruit and gently pull the 'bunch' of seeds off from the other end - easy!
Rinse the cleaned fruit to remove any leftover hairy bits.  Here's the thing about the fine hairs on the seeds: they work like itching powder.  Rub some on the skin and you will feel it!  If you're very sensitive, wear gloves when processing the fruit.
Pour the prepared hips and water into a heavy-based saucepan, cook until soft enough to press through a stainless steel sieve.
Sieve the pulp in small batches into a large bowl.
These were the skins left over from 1.5 pounds of rose hips.  Flick these onto the garden beds.
Pour the fine pulp back into the saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring to a boil.  Boil for several minutes and then simmer until there's a 'jam-like' consistency.
Rose hips have plenty of pectin, so there's no need to add anything else to help it set.  Once the mixture is thick, glossy and silky, test for setting point. 
Voila! Only four bottles after all that work but the taste is well worth the effort.
As I prefer a less sweet jam, I used 1 pound organic natural demerera sugar to 1.5 pounds rose hip pulp and two cups of water.  This jam is soft and silky and has just the right balance of tartness. 


mangocheeks said...

Wow, your rosehips are dripping. I struggled to find any good ones.

Love the colour.

Dim Sum Gardener said...

Thank you Mangocheeks. I'm afriad I can't take the credit for this. Neglect, hard clay soil and a very cold winter did the trick!

Matron said...

I was going to try making rosehip jam this Autumn but hadn't realised how fiddly it is! I don't think I have the patience to clean, halve, de-seed...all that stuff! It is supposed to be packed full of vitamins though.

Dim Sum Gardener said...

I was too fussy - one can actually boil the lot till soft and then sieve out the seeds and skins. The recommended hips are rosa rugosa which are much bigger than what I've used and easier to process. Do give it a go, it really does taste fantastic.