The tart, reddish-orange hips of Rugosa roses make a wonderful jam! See how to make this tangy jam—which is also loaded with vitamin C when fresh. Rose hip jam is a delicious spread on toast, in yogurt, with game meat, on ice cream, with oatmeal, in pancakes, or on a cheese sandwich!
What are rose hips? They are seed pods of roses! If you leave the spent flowers on your rose bush, look closely and you will see small berry-sized balls on the tip of stems. They turn orange-red at maturity. We normally use hips of Rugosa roses. They have the largest, most abundant, and best tasting hips. However, all rose hips are edible. Just make sure you never harvest hips from a plant sprayed by pesticides or chemicals. You can also buy dried rose hips.
What do rose hips taste like? They have a bit of the tartness of a crab apple; roses are in the same family as apples and crab apples, which is why their fruits resemble mini crabapples.
How do you harvest rose hips? If you have your own rose bushes, harvest in the fall (October, November) when the rose plant is leafless. Wait until first light frost has nipped the leaves but before you experience a hard frost that freezes the hips solid. Light frost helps sweeten the flavor and is also good for the plant.
Clip ripe hips off a rose bush with a knife or scissors. Make sure to wear garden gloves. Trim off the stem and blossom ends. Slice the hips in half with scissors. Remove the seeds. Rinse off the rose hips with cool water. Dry completely. And then get read to use or freeze for later use.
Below is our recipe for Rose Hip Jam. If you have extra rose hips, you can also make tea! Just steep 4 to 8 rose hips in a cup of boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes.