Wild Candy: It’s time to harvest the rose hips

Do you know the rosehip? Popularly called “hair-to-scratch” or “scratch-ass”, it is a “false fruit” that looks like a small red berry and is produced by the rosehip (wild rose)! Although it contains very irritating hairs (which must be removed before consumption), the fruits are perfectly edible and even very tasty. This native rose of our regions offers the only “fruits” available in our latitudes all winter. In general, it is harvested from the first frost and during much of the winter.

How to consume these “wild sweets”?

The taste of rosehip pulp is mild, sharp and sweet. When the fruits are very ripe, they are particularly rich in vitamins and antioxidants and can be eaten in various preparations, as well as in “wild” tasting. It is indeed quite possible to eat them raw straight away, if they are well ripe and well colored, but you have to be careful not to eat the seeds and the stinging hairs in the center of the fruit. To do this, simply cut the fruit in half lengthwise to remove the insides before eating.

Otherwise, it can also be made into jams, syrups, wines, liqueurs, creams and pastries. In Sweden, rose hips are the basis of “Nyponsoppa”, a rose hip soup, a dessert often served with milk and cream or vanilla ice cream. In Chechnya, tea is also made from dried rose hips. You can also make a ketchup or an accompanying sauce, by mixing the rose hips with tomato on pasta, or even put it on pizzas.

Rose hips (Rosa canina), cleaned fruit – Photo: Lucas Heitz / Rexania.

Namely that the berries of all kinds of wild or cultivated roses are eaten, but of the wild kinds that of Rosa rugosa is the largest and therefore the easiest to prepare, but the rose hips of the Rosa canina genus, Rosa blanda, Rosa pimpinellifolia, Rosa rubiginosa, Rosa arvensis are also perfectly edible (after removing seeds and irritating hairs before use).