The 2012 sloe harvest has not been that great and whilst we are on the subject nor has the apple, plum, blackberry or pretty much anything that needs pollinating. This has been due to the dry spring, late frosts and continuous heavy rains that didn’t give the blossom much of chance to thrive at all. Bee’s found it impossible to dodge the heaviest rain drops and that much water meant mildew instead found a happy home on our favourite plants.
All in all 2012 has not been a great foraging year. But fear not rosehips seem to have found a gap in the market and the splashes of red are colouring our hedgerows from here to Inverness. But what do you do with rosehips?
Rosehips as a savoury? Yes indeed and credit where credit is due, I have to thank my good friend Fergus Drennan for introducing me to the idea. Apparently its all the rage in Sweden!
Rosehip, roasted beetroot and sweet potato soup
Makes three generous portions
250g (1 large) chopped onion
250g peeled and sliced raw beetroot
300g Sweet potato
250g Frost (or freezer) softend rosehips
1 large crushed clove of garlic
1 small red chilli
Oil for frying
2 tablespoons Cider vinegar
A thumb of fresh ginger
750 ml (1 ½ pts) Vegetable stock
Cut the sweet potato and the beetroot up into 3cm chunks and roast for 20-30 mins on 180ºc (160ºc for fan oven).
Wash then boil the rosehips for 5 minutes then mash thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
In a separate pan, fry the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger on a low heat until the onion starts to cameralize. Strain the cooled rosehips through a muslin cloth into the pan and compost the seeds and outer shells. Add the roasted vegetables (note: you can experiment with squashes or other roasted vegetables).
Add the other ingredients (including the stock) and simmer gently for 15 minutes, do not allow to boil. Season and serve either as chunky soup or liquidize if this is what you prefer. For the adventurous forager types a bit of grated wood aven root adds a nice touch.
A Different approach to Rosehip syrup
Rosehips are very high in vitamin C in fact they contain about 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. During the war when it was impossible to get vitamin C, the people were asked to collect as many rosehips as possible so that they could be made into rosehip syrup for nursing mothers and the elderly.
The traditional way of making rosehips syrup involves a whole process of cutting and boiling. This is laborious and as vitamin C levels are lowered though boiling it makes them less healthy. A herbalist taught me a much simpler method. Get a clean jar, wash some rosehips and put a layer of them into the jar, cover that layer with sugar so you see no red when you look down and repeat the process until you reach the top of the jar. Leave until for a month or so until the sugar has all dissolved then strain into a sterilized jar. Making it this way does leave you with a slightly alcoholic tasting rosehip syrup so, perhaps not a method for the tee totaller.
To find out more about foraging and wild food why not book on a foraging walk?