One of the best roses for creating herbalist recipes with is the Sitka Rose. While its name has one thinking of wild Alaska, it actually grows along the low lands of the PNW well into Washington State and beyond, and grows beautifully. It’s a gorgeous bush, and they grow tall along the salt water on our island. Locally, our Nootka Rose bushes are native and grow alongside them, but have smaller, and firm rose hips. So at this time of year, if I see a Sitka loaded with fresh, ripe hips, I start picking. They are truly the size of plump cherry tomatoes, and have the feel of a gummy candy.
As always, only pick rose hips from bushes you know were not sprayed with fungicides. I have a couple areas I know about, and they are safe. I tend to keep plastic sandwich boxes in the car’s trunk in case I see berries or similar to pick. When picking toss any that are wrinkled or have any black spots. Be wary of the spines on the bushes, they are sharp.
Rose hip syrup is a great way to use hips. The syrup is full of Vitamin C and a sip here and there can be good for the body.
Sitka Rose Hip Syrup
- 1 pound fresh Sitka rose hips
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar or favorite sugar 1:1 substitute
Wash, and trim the rose hips (I pull the ends and tops off by hand). Add them and the water to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
Take off the heat.
Rinse out the saucepan well, and return the liquid to it.
Stir in the sugar till dissolved.
Bring to a boil, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
Let cool, transfer to a clean jar and seal, store in refrigerator.
Why strain and clean the items? Rose hips contain tiny hairs that can cause discomfort if you ingest them. So double straining removes them. And as well, rinsing the pot out between uses. You will see the tiny bits left behind, the syrup should be clear in appearance once finished. If in any doubt? Strain it a third time.