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By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Oct 4 2017 08:00AM

From October through to December the rosehip is a common sight in our British gardens, hedgerows and along footpaths.

As their name suggests, rosehips are the bud of the wild rose and they are jam-packed full of vitamin C (some estimates say up to 20 times as much as oranges). They can't be eaten raw but they can be processed fairly simply into a fragrant syrup. During WWII the general public were encouraged to pick rosehips and make the syrup for children who would otherwise have lacked vitamin C (because boats with cargos of citrus from the tropics couldn't reach the UK). Rosehips are difficult to cultivate commercially and so, even today, producers rely on wild crops.

For a sweet wintery treat, collect some rosehips from your local hedgerow and make your own

Here's the original, official Ministry of Food's wartime recipe:

• 2lbs (900g) rosehips

• 560g caster sugar

• You'll also need a jelly bag or muslin cloth and screw top jars or bottles.

Boil 2 litres of water in a large pan. Mince the hips coarsely in a food processor and spoon into the pan. Bring the water back to the boil then turn off the heat and put to one side for 15 minutes. Pour the mixture through your jelly bag or a jam funnel lined with muslin, into a bowl. Allow to drip until all of the liquid has drained through. Discard the hips. Return the pink juice to the (rinsed) saucepan, add 900ml of boiling water, stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Pour the liquid through the jelly bag or muslin again (you want to be sure that all of the irritating little hairs are removed). Thoroughly clean your pan, pour in the juice and boil down until you have about 1 litre left. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved then boil for 5 minutes. Pour into hot sterile bottles and seal. Store your syrup in a dark cupboard.

The syrup won't keep for more than a week once opened so best to use small bottles. It's delicious on porridge and rice pudding or added to hot water to create a sweet, fruity infusion.

By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Nov 13 2014 10:01AM

This week, we've seen some incredibly moving scenes around the Armistice Day commemorations and, in particular, the dramatic installation at the Tower of London that really brought home the devastating impact of the First World War. It's a stark reminder to us all that, however hard we think we have it, it's nothing compared to what our ancestors went through. We've also, this week, had a few glimpses of the weather to come in the next season; cold snaps and heavy rain remind us that leaner times are round the corner.

What’s the (admittedly tenuous) link for this blog post? Well, during the Second World War when food supplies were scarce, the Ministry Of Food issued an official recipe for rosehip syrup. The syrup, made from the buds of wild roses, was believed to be high in Vitamin C and vital to prevent children from getting scurvy at a time when citrus fruits were difficult to come by.

Whilst rosehips do have up to 20 times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges, it's now thought that the cooking process may destroy, or at least significantly reduce the vitamin content of the syrup. But nevertheless it tastes pretty good. If you're out strolling along any footpaths this weekend look out for rosehips - they are in season from October through to December and there are bound to be some near you.

Pour this tasty, traditional syrup onto porridge or use it as a cordial with cold or hot water.

Official Ministry of Food Rosehip Syrup Recipe

2lb (900g) of rosehips


Have ready 3 pints of boiling water, mince the hips in a coarse mincer, drop immediately into boiling water or if

Again bring to the boil. Stop heating and place aside for 15 minutes.

Pour into a flannel or linen crash jelly bag and allow to drip until the bulk of the liquid has come through.

Return the residue to the saucepan, add 1 1/2 pints of boiling water, stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Pour back in to the jelly bag and allow to drip. To make sure all the sharp hairs are removed put back the first half cupful of liquid and allow to drip through again.

Put the mixed juice into a clean saucepan and boil down until the juice measures about 1 1/2 pints, then add l lb 4oz of sugar and boil for a further 5 minutes.

Pour into hot sterile bottles and seal at once.

If corks are used these should have been boiled for 15 minutes just previously and after insertion coated with melted paraffin wax.

It is advisable to use small bottles as the syrup will not keep for more than one week or two once the bottle is opened.

Store in a dark cupboard.

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