Tuesday, November 8, 2011


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The fruit of the Rosa Rugosa resemble tiny tomatoes, and anyone who has been near the shore – for me Cape Cod, Block Island, Maine – you find them growing wild on the shifting dunes. The sweet, distinctly scented flowers are often used to make pot-pourri, but the hips, also called haws by some, are well-known for making tea, wine, or creating a jam or jelly.

Rose hips are legendary for being high in Vitamin C, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the beneficial effects of vitamin C. In addition to C, rose hips also contain A, D, Iron and E - all wrapped up in the tart-sweet taste of these miniature fruits.

The hips have seeds on the inside that are covered with tiny-weenie hairs that can be itchy and irritating. However, when making jelly the seeds will get strained out in the jelly-making process, so, it is easiest just to trim off the top and bottom of the hip. Also, when making this jelly you definitely want to use a non-reactive pan, like enamel or stainless steel. Do not use aluminum or cast iron to cook the rosehips.



2 quarts Rose Hips (plus or minus)

½ Cup Lemon Juice

¼ teaspoon Butter

3 Cups Raw Sugar

¼ Cup Honey

Several Crab Apples or one large Green Apple

1 package Powdered Pectin (or Homemade Pectin)


5 or 6 Eight-ounce canning jars and fresh lids


Rinse the rose hips and apples thoroughly. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the rose hips and discard. Cut apples into small pieces leaving skin and seeds.

Place rose hips and apple in a large pot. Add enough water to cover. If fruit begins to float, temporarily cover with a dinner plate or something similar for water measurement. Remove the plate before cooking.

Bring hips to a boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes before reducing heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour (more or less), until rose hips are soft. Stir occasionally so they do not stick to your pot. It is fine to mash the hips against the side of the pan as you stir. I also use a food mill to grind the pulp once it is soft, or you can use a potato masher, or just squish everything up as best you can with the back of a flat spoon.

Set up a jelly bag, or a large very fine mesh strainer, or three layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or large pot. Transfer the rose hip, apples and liquid (or puree)  into the jelly bag/strainer/cheesecloth. Let strain into the bowl for a minimum of one hour . Do not squeeze the jelly bag or cheesecloth to get more remaining juice out, it will make your jelly cloudy.

Measure the juice. You will need 3 cups of juice for this recipe, so if you have less than 3 cups, add some boiling water to the jelly bag and allow more liquid to drain through.

Place 3 cups of the rose hip juice in a large, non-reactive pot. Add the honey, lemon juice, and pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly dissolving all of the pectin. Add the sugar, also stirring constantly until dissolves, then add the butter.

Bring jelly to a rolling boil (one that you cannot reduce by stirring). The mixture will bubble up considerably. Boil for exactly one minute. Then remove from heat and pour off into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace from the rim.

Make sure rims are clean and sterilized tops are finger tight on the jars, then process in a Hot Water Bath for 10 minutes. Voila, a lovely bit of summer in a jar.  Enjoy!

Hot Water Bath or Pressure Canning