Very few of us consider roses to be a medicinal plant. However, nothing could be further from the truth! The seed pods that form after the rose’s delicate petals have fallen are a rich source of natural vitamin C. Today, I’m going to teach you how to make a rose hip infused vinegar.
Once made, it deserves a place in your natural medicine cabinet and your kitchen! This infusion can be used in the place of normal vinegar, as a remedy for colds and sore throats, in a salad dressing for health and immune support.
WHEN TO HARVEST ROSE HIPS
Harvest rose hips when they have turned a brilliant red or begin to soften. This usually occurs in the late summer or fall season. Ripening depends on the plant variety, location and sun exposure.
Rose hips are forgiving to forage because they have a long season! Some will cling to the bush all winter, amidst, rain, snow and stormy weather. Check the hips bi-weekly in the fall and you’ll do just fine!
HOW TO HARVEST AND CLEAN ROSE HIPS
Because rose bushes have thorns, you may wish to wear gloves and long sleeves. Hips can be plucked with the stem intact. I like collecting the little red gems into a basket!
After you have harvested the desired amount, take your rose hips home and give them a good rinse in cold water. If present, remove the coarse, black tips opposite the stem. For the quickest infusion, also remove stems.
Fully prepared rose hips should look something like this!
CHOOSING THE VINEGAR
While white vinegar is better than nothing, I recommend using real apple cider vinegar (Bragg is a great brand) that still contains live bacterial culture. It has many health benefits! If you can’t source it in your grocery store, check at a local health food store.
Should you make your own apple vinegar, I absolutely recommend using that. If you would like to learn how, be sure to read this blog post on making your own! If you have apples, its very simple.
HOW TO MAKE A ROSE HIP VINEGAR INFUSION
- a quart jar (1 litre) with lid
- 3 C clean rose hips
- apple cider vinegar to fill the jar (approx 3 C)
Directions: place clean rose hips in a clean quart jar, leaving 2-3 inches of head space. Rose hips will expand as your vinegar penetrates them!
Add vinegar until it reaches the neck of the jar. I recommend using a plastic or glass lid for this infusion. Vinegar can corrode a metal canning lid!
Set your infusion in a dark place, such as the kitchen cupboard or pantry shelf. Because the rose hips will absorb liquid, check the vinegar level every week. Be sure to keep the rose hips covered! Allow it to sit for 2-4 weeks.
Once accomplished, strain the infused vinegar through a cloth and store it in a bottle or jar. The rose hips can be surrendered to your chickens or compost bin!
THE ISSUE OF JELLING
Some rose hips contain very high amounts of natural pectin! If you leave the liquid for too long (6+ weeks) you may find the hips packed in a thick jelly!
Should this happen, dump the contents of the jar into a bowl. Add another cup of vinegar and stir vigorously to help break up the jelly clumps. You can then strain the rose hips from the vinegar and bottle.
Add it to your natural medicine cabinet!