Rose hip is abundant at this time of year. Some books say that they are best left until they have been shrivelled by the first frost of winter, but we have been making delicious syrup on warm September evenings. We have used the big blousy hips from Japanese rose (Rosa rugosa) which is very common in gardens and as a hedging shrub, but the wild hips from Dog rose (Rosa canina) are apparently as good. Being smaller they will take more collecting….
We gathered around half a kilo, gave them a wash, snipped off the long sepals and stalks and then popped them in a food processor for a good whizzzz – seeds and all. Meanwhile, we had brought a litre of water to the boil to which we then added the hippy mush. We brought it back to the boil and then took it off the heat, leaving it to steep for around 20 minutes. We then drained it through a jelly strainer, giving it a bit of a squeeze to hurry it along.
Putting the strained liquid to one side we brought another 500ml of water to the boil and added the mush back in, repeating the previous routing of boiling, steeping and straining.
Finally, add 250gms of sugar (Demerara is good but granulated is fine) to the strained liquid and simmer for a further five minutes before placing in sterilized bottles and closing with a cork. Delicious.