What are Rose Hips?

What are Rose Hips?:

Rose hips are the natural fruit of a rose bush that forms after the bloom has faded and died away. These hips actually contain the seeds of the rose called achenes. Often growers will not see many rose hips on their plants because we have been conditioned over the years to deadhead our roses to keep them blooming as long as possible. By removing the spent blooms, the plant remains in the blooming cycle almost indefinitely and typically does not make it to the step of producing hips and seeds.

You would be surprised at how many younger rose growers will ask, what are rose hips and how do they form? If you allow your roses to go to seed, you will see the petals fade and drop off, leaving only the centers of the blooms on the stems. A short time later you will see small green bulbs start to form at the ends of the stems where the blooms once were. These are the rose hips. As they ripen, they will go from a green color to a more pronounced red. This process is much like the ripening of apples or cranberries so it is not surprising that rose hips are actually included in the same family as those two fruits.

What are Rose Hips used for?:

Now that you've answered the question "What are rose hips?", you are probably wondering what they are used for. Rose hips are edible, just like the petals of a rose, and birds and animals will often eat them if available. If you decide to try one however, make sure you aren't eating from plants that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. Rose hips will actually taste somewhat tart, like crabapples and they are chock full of vitamin C. While I have never known anyone to eat their rose hips, you do have that option if you are curious.

Some ambitious rose growers will actually harvest their rose hips for culinary uses. I have seen rose hips used in the making of jellies and soups. I have also heard of folks grinding them up to use as a seasoning or in various sauces, though I cannot claim to have tried any of these myself. One common use for rose hips is in tea. Simply steep your cleaned and washed rose hips in a cup of boiling water at least 10 minutes or so and see what you think of the taste.

When Should You Harvest Rose Hips:

Rose hips can really be harvested any time after they have ripened to a vivid red color. It is said that the best time to harvest them is after the first late season frost. By this time many of the hips will have dried up or shriveled, but you should still have more than enough to harvest off of your roses. The birds will take care of the dried up ones in time. It is said that if you wait until the hips have gone through a frost, the flavor of them will be much sweeter and not so bitter.

It is also good for your roses if you do not cut off the hips until after the frost. Cutting them off often induces roses to start forming new growth and that late in the growing season, they would only die back when the frost hits anyway.

Preparing Rose Hips:

You can certainly use the whole rose hip in your recipes, but you will find that the seeds inside of them form with this hairy covering that is often irritating of you consume them whole. Many folks will cut the rose hips in half and remove those seeds prior to cooking or eating the hips.

You can cut them open with a knife or even a pair of kitchen shears, and you should make sure that you also remove the piece of stem and the blossom end from the hip as well prior to preparing.

Hopefully I have answered the question for you "What are rose hips?", and provided you with enough information to look at these little fruits with a whole new outlook.



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What are Rose Hips?
What are Rose Hips?
What are Rose Hips?
What are Rose Hips?
What are Rose Hips?