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How to Use Rosehips in Cookery

Four Methods:Preparing rosehipsRosehip jamRosehip jam tartStewed fruits with rosehips

Rich in vitamin C (twenty times more than oranges), as well as containing some vitamins A and E,[1] rosehips are an excellent health food. They have been used in cooking for centuries, since the 16th century in the United Kingdom, and they remain popular in European cookery to this day. Their flavour is quirky but fragrant and they can be used in a variety of ways, including as flavouring, condiments, or even as a sore-throat remedy or cold prevention aid through the winter months. Rosehips may also assist in treating osteo-arthritis, but this has not been confirmed in large trials.

The fattened section remaining once the rose petals fall away, rosehips are the fruit and seed pod of the rose.[2] They ripen to a beautiful orange or red colour (or sometimes purple to black),[3] from late summer and through autumn, with the colour change indicating readiness for harvesting. If you'd like to make the most of your rosehips instead of letting them wither away on the rose bush, there are several excellent suggestions for use presented in this article.

Method 1
Preparing rosehips

  1. 1
    Pick the rosehips when they turn a ripe red or orange colour. Use scissors to remove them from the stem, then trim away the petal ends and stem piece to leave a clean hip. Remove any insect damaged or blemished parts.
  2. 2
    Cut the rosehips in half and remove the seeds. This is easiest done with a sharp knife and a small spoon. As this is a more time consuming task, it's good for small quantities, such as if you only have one or two rosebushes.

Method 2
Rosehip jam

  1. 1
    Measure the weight of the prepared hips and add about half the amount of weight in water. For 450g (15.8 oz) of hips, 250ml (8.4 fl. oz) of water is a close approximate guide.
  2. 2
    Simmer the hips and water together until soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes; it takes less time if they're covered with a lid. Puree the hips or push them through a sieve or mouli to pulp them. Measure the pulp's weight.
  3. 3
    Add equal weight of sugar to the pulp. Bring to a boil. Test the readiness by placing a sample on a cold plate to see if it gels. If it does, then it is ready for storing in hot, sterilised jars. If it does not gel, boil rapidly for another minute and test again.
  4. Image titled Eggless banana muffins
    Use the rosehip jam.
    • Spread straight onto toast.
    • Rosehip jam can be stirred into muffins and biscuits or cookies.
    • Stir into meats. Rosehip jam has an interesting flavour that works well with chicken, pork, or other white meats such as turkey. It can be blended with a little mustard for an interesting sweet and sour sauce, or with BBQ sauce and soy sauce (to taste) for a flavour similar to Hoisin sauce.

Method 3
Rosehip jam tart

  1. 1
    Use frozen pie base, or make your own short crust pastry. Preheat your oven to 180ºC / 350ºF in advance. Use a standard pie plate at least 15cm (5.9") in diameter, but a 20cm (7.8") pie plate is recommended. It's a very flexible recipe, so you can make it in a variety of sizes.
  2. 2
    For a tart to serve 4, you will need:
    • 1 cup of the above rosehip jam
    • Strained juice of one lemon (about 50ml / 1.69 fl oz)
    • 10g (0.35 oz) of melted butter
    • Cinnamon to taste (one or two small pinches)
    • Dried ginger (either 1 teaspoon chopped candied ginger or approx 1/4 teaspoon of powdered)
    • 1/2 cup of ground almond meal.
  3. 3
    Combine the jam and lemon juice, beating well to soften the jam. Add the spices and melted butter and stir through. Add the ground almonds last, stir well and pour into the pie case.
  4. 4
    Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Method 4
Stewed fruits with rosehips

  1. 1
    Place 125g (4.4 oz) of hips with the same volume of water and 50g (1.7 oz) of sugar or honey to taste. Simmer 10 minutes.
  2. 2
    Add other sliced fruits such as 1 apple, 2 stems of red rhubarb, or 1 pear or 1 peach - you can use them all or mix and match.
  3. 3
    Add water to just cover the fruits. Taste syrup for flavouring and add more sugar if desired, or lemon juice if you prefer a sour flavour.
  4. Image titled Rhubarb Compote_79967
    Simmer 10-15 minutes more. The hips will just start to break down, but the other fruits should still remain intact.
  5. 5
    Serve with oatmeal, custard, a slice of vanilla cake, or ice cream.


  • Don't harvest your rose hips too soon; the first week of frost can actually improve their flavour.
  • This old fashioned ingredient has an acquired taste but does blend well with other flavours. It's good for adventurous cooks and food historians, and as the yield of hips per bush is not huge, it means that making small batches is more feasible as a little can go a long way.
  • Rosehip tea is a great source of vitamin C and can help you to ward off a cold or to get through it a little more easily.[4]
  • Most rosehips are suitable for use but the more commonly used ones include the wild dog-rose (often growing on hedgerows) and the hips from Rosa rugosa.[5] Always verify that the hips are pesticide free before using, and always wash well.
  • Note that both spellings "rosehip" and "rose hip" are accurate.[6]


  • Be careful of the thorns when harvesting the rosehips.

Sources and Citations

  1. Rosemary Davidson and Sarah Vine, The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls, p. 174, (2007), ISBN 978-0-670-91710-5
  2. Wisegeek, What are Rose Hips?,
  3. Vegetarian Nutrition, Rose Hips,
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