Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Rosehip Syrup

Adapted from Marguerite Patten's Feeding the Nation.

Makes 2 cups rosehip syrup - enough for 2 people for 6-8 months, if taken as a few drops daily.

1lb rosehips, ripe and red
9oz sugar

1) Wash hips and 'top and tail' (remove stalks and greenery).  Put in a heavy stainless steel pan.  Cover well with water and bring to the boil.  Simmer until tender - about 10 minutes.

2) Mash hips well with a wooden spoon so that they are all broken open.  Put into a jelly bag (see Notes) over a bowl, and squeeze out as much juice as possible.

3) Return the pulp to the saucepan and add the same amount of water again.  Bring to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Pour back into teatowel and squeeze again into the bowl, adding to the juice from the first round.

4) Bin the pulp, and wash out the teatowel very thoroughly.  (I put mine through the washing machine.)  Pour the juice once again into the teatowel.  Do not squeeze this time, but allow to drip through into a clean bowl overnight, without stirring or pressing.  This should ensure that the liquid is hair-free!

5) Boil the juice down until it measures about 2 cups (16 fl. oz.)  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Boil for 5 minutes.

6) Either:
(a) Bottle the syrup in small jars.  The jars must be perfectly clean and hot - put them through the dishwasher and use immediately, or sterilise with boiling water and keep warm in the oven until ready for use.  Seal the jars at once, using rubber washers to ensure a perfect seal.  The syrup should be stored in a dark cupboard.
(b) Do what I did and freeze the syrup in ice cube trays, so that a very little can be defrosted at a time.  I think this works, but don't guarantee it yet!  I'll update this recipe as I find out.

I didn't have a heavy stainless steel pan, and an ordinary cheap one worked fine!  Just watch a little more closely in case the bottom burns.

I also didn't have a proper jelly bag, and was wary of using a borrowed one in case the little rosehip hairs got stuck in it and spoiled it.  You can improvise a jelly bag with layers of muslin, but I found a simple linen tea towel worked very well, and moreover, was tough enough to endure squeezing.  The red stain washed out fine, at least when I washed it straight away.  Just put a metal sieve over a large baking bowl, and put the tea towel in the sieve to hold everything in place; then pour into the sieve.

Serve as a Vitamin C supplement, taking about 1/4 tsp a day.  Alternatively, pour some over icecream, or use to flavour home made icecream or desserts.

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