PO Box 2458, Tijeras NM 87059

Mountain Gardens--finding success with plants for the high desert and East Mountains of New Mexico

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rose Hip Syrup

Aly, and Wilbur and I spent an afternoon hiking over on Sandia. We gathered a little seed from the wafer ash and hawthorns, not much because the bears evidently beat us to the fruit. But to our delight, there were still a lot of hips on the wild woods roses. A few minutes yielded about four cups worth--enough to make up another wildcrafting recipe, without feeling guilty about depriving the bears and other critters up there trying to fatten for winter.

Making the syrup followed the same initial process as the oil; wash, stem, etc.  Then the hips went into the vitamix till they were as well ground as possible without becoming a purée. The mix was cooked over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot with lots of sugar. The syrup didn't have much flavor, so I added a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon, a good call because it went from bland to delicious. In retrospect we may be taking a little bit more than a teaspoon a day! Gilly tried it in her coffee, and liked it very much, thank you. The syrup is recommended as a topping for oatmeal, a sweetener for tea--use your imagination.

Rose hips are high in vitamin C, everyone knows that! Did you know they are a significant source of minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and phytonutrients like quercitin, lycopene, galactolipids (?!), carotenoids, betasitosterol (!!!). Also high in vitamins A, K, E, niacin, folate, panthothenic acid, choline, and betaine. Then there's GOPO, isolated by researchers in Europe and being used to treat the pain of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.  Hard not to get excited about an herbal application with so many uses, and virtually no side effects. It's been used for centuries to treat children's colds. And one researcher noted that even when the vitamin C breaks down, the other phytonutrients remain active.

There are a lot of recipes online, and all the ones in English are UK, which meant translating the measurements, further adapted because I had less than a kilo of hips. Loosely adapted (from jeremytaylor.eu), here's the recipe.

4 cups hips
6 cups sugar
2 cups water

Get everything ready and work quickly because vitamin C begins to break down quickly. Crush the hips in a blender with two cups water (other readers noted the hips can be rough on lesser blenders). Add the hips to about 7 1/2 cups boiling water. Bring back to boil, and immediately remove from heat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth. Return strained hips to more boiling water (Recipe got a little vague here--guessed and used about three cups). The blogger suggested the hips could be boiled and strained three times, but I did it twice. Consolidate and measure syrup. Bring to boil again with sugar. Immediately remove from heat, and put up in sterile jars.

Other commenters used less sugar. One shared an old recipe that also used rose water. Most folks are using species roses. Rosa woodsii that I used for my syrup, is a native American. Rosa gallica, the apothecary rose, is European. Rosa canina, the European dog rose, is specifically being used for GOPO formulations.


  1. Oh, I bet that tastes wonderful! I'm always fascinated by Rose hips and think if I had enough I would make something with them. Thanks for this great post!