Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Foraged Food: Rosehip Syrup

Aoife, Cambridge

I've been trying to expand my foraging repertoire this year. I always do nettles in the spring and I usually do blackberries and sloes in the Autumn. I managed to get it together in time to do something with elderflowers this year but the sudden arrival of the autumn weather made me realise I didn't have too much of 2012 left to meet my foraging objectives.  The autumn weather seems to have brought me more than my fair share of sniffles so rosehips with their high vitamin C content seemed the perfect choice. Of course the thought of rosehip syrup immediately set off the "cocktail ingredient" alarm in my head.

Luckily our allotment plot is bordered by a hedgerow full of rosehips. Its prickly work and a little tedious; I really should have roped The Husband in to help. I did bring gloves with me, I just forgot to wear them. My hands are now even more battered looking than usual. The sky was starting to look very autumnal at this stage so I thought I was better off back in my cosy apartment.

Autumn sky over the allotments
Back in the kitchen, another mind-numbing 15 minutes was spent getting all the little stalks off the hips, I had to resort to a nip or two of my rhubarb vodka to get me through. Once done I minced the rosehips using a hand held blender. I did fear the rosehips were beyond its capabilities at one stage (it got very hot and started to make pitiful whining sounds) but it pulled through and those of you with fancy blenders should have no problem. It was then just a case of stewing, filtering, stewing and filtering again before boiling with sugar and bottling. The finished syrup is the deep orange red of the hips themselves and it tastes subtly fragrant and floral. As well as spoonfuls doled out like medicine, I drizzled it on to a warm apple cake and of course i have been experimenting with it as a cocktail ingredient. This weeks Fabulous Friday will be rosehip syrup based.

Rosehip syrup (makes about 1 litre)
400g rosehips (stalks removed, rinsed and minced)
520g of sugar

To the minced rosehips in a pan add 650mL of water, cover and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allowing to stand for at least fifteen minutes. Strain through muslin and leave to drip through for an hour or so. Retain the juice and return the pulp to the pan and add a further 650mL of water. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and allowing to stand for at least fifteen minutes. Strain through muslin allowing to drip through overnight.
The next morning, combine the two batches of juice, measure the amount of liquid (I had 800ml) and add to a clean saucepan. Add the sugar and heat while stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Boil for about five minutes and then pour it into a warm, sterilised bottle. It should keep for a couple of months.

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