Monday, 16 September 2013

Do it Now: the Real (and proper!) Rosehip Tea

Rosehips in Wimbledon park
A little foraging recipe this week. Forget the rosehip tea you buy in the health shops! Once you try the real thing - you'll never buy that poor imitation. The real rosehip tea is made from... rosehips! The problem is, you cannot buy real rosehips for love nor money in the UK, so there is only one thing left. Go foraging!

You may not need to go far. If, like me, you forgot to deadhead your garden roses (especially of the climbing variety), then you have rosehips ready and waiting for you in your back garden! Failing that - go to your local park. Avoid the main rose beds - they are looked after and deadheaded, go to the outskirts - there will be those wild rose bushes which no one bothered to tame and they are now covered with rosehips!

Just to show you how many you can get from one rose bush
The photos accompanying this entry were taken today in Wimbledon park. Look how much good stuff is on offer!

Rosehip tea is believed to have medicinal qualities (and we LOVE this kind of stuff in Ukraine - I'll do a special post on that later). Daddy used to go rosehip picking every September. He'd go with our neighbour, another Sergei, for a whole day and return home with a huge bag full of rosehips. If you like my dad decide to do it on that scale - take some secateurs and leather gloves, otherwise your hands will be scratched all over.

When picking rosehips, choose the firm red ones, the ones that are soft have gone over, the pinkish-yellow ones are not ready yet.

I went last year with my two sons and a small basket and we had a great time! Weather permitting - it can be as fun as picking blackberries, plus it's a good exercise in delayed gratification, as you cannot use the picked rosehips straight away.

You must dry them for a few weeks in a dark, dry place at room temperature. They will get darker, but will retain their shape. They are ready when completely dry.

What a faff, you'd say! But trust me, it's worth it!

This is how the dry stuff looks like
Proper Rosehip Tea
Makes 1.5 liters

You will need a thermos for this. I use a 1.5 liter Chinese thermos, but you can use a smaller or bigger one, just adjust the amount of rosehips you use. You will also need a pestle and mortar (or anything to bash the rosehips a bit).


Two large handfuls of dry whole rosehips
1.5 liters of freshly boiled water


Bash the rosehips in pestle and mortar. No need to do it thoroughly. You are trying to release their flavour, so if you crush 30-50% of them - that should do.
Put the crushed rosehips in a thermos, add the freshly boiled water. Seal and leave overnight to infuse.

Drink as tea (you may need a little sieve to pour it out). You can add a little sugar, or honey. But no milk!

I also do a second infusion. When you finish drinking the liquid of the first infusion, just add 1l of freshly boiled water and leave overnight again. It's not as good as the first round, but still better that the stuff you buy in the tea bags!

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