- 4 cups rose hips
Just after a frost is the best time to gather rose hips. Snap off the tails as you pick,or later when you reach home. Spread the hips out on a clean surface and allow to dry partially. When the skins begin to feel dried and shriveled, split the hips and take out the large seeds -- all of them. If you let the hips dry too much, it will be difficult to remove the seeds. If not dry enough, the inside pulp will be sticky and cling to the seeds.
After the seeds are removed, allow the hips to dry completely before storing or they will not keep well. Store in small, sealed plastic bags. These will keep indefinitely in the freezer or for several months in the refrigerator. They are packed with vitamin C and are good to munch on anytime you need extra energy...or a moderately sweet nutlike "candy."
Use soft ripe rose hips (the riper they are, the sweeter they are). It takes about 4 cups (1 Litre) of rose hips to make 2 cups (480 ml) of puree. Remove stalks and blossom ends. Rinse berries in cold water. Put them into a pan and add enough water to almost cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Press through a sieve or strainer. All that does not go through the sieve is placed in the pan again. Add a little water, enough to almost cover, if you want a thicker puree, add slightly less. This time heat but do not boil so vigorously. This will dissolve a little more of the fruit so that it will go through the sieve. Press again and then repeat the process one more time. By now, most of the fruit should have gone through the sieve leaving only seeds and skin to discard.
Line a cookie sheet, 12 by 17 inches (30 by 42 cm), with plastic wrap. This size cookie sheet holds approximately 2 cups (480ml) of puree. Spread puree or fruit leather evenly over the plastic but do not push it completely to the sides. Leave a bit of plastic showing for easy removal. Place on a card table or picnic table in the hot sun to dry.
If the plastic is bigger than the cookie sheet and extends up the sides, anchor it with clothes pins so it will not flop down and cover the edges of the leather. Puree should dry in the sun six to eight hours.
Recipe Source: "Cooking Alaskan By Alaskans" (Alaska Northwest Books)
Reprinted with permission.
Rose hips may also be dried in an electric dehydrator (following the manufacturer's instructions for fruit leathers) or in the oven.
Oven-Dried Rose Hips
Prepare rose hips as instructed above. Preheat oven to the lowest setting or 200 F. Line cookie sheet with non-stick foil. Spread cleaned rose hips evenly on the pan in a single layer. Dry in the oven for 6 to 12 hours. Time will vary due to the size of your rose hips and your oven. Check often. The rose hips should remain pliable, not brittle. Place dried rose hips in freezer bags, remove the air and seal tightly.
Oven-Dried Rose Hips Fruit Leather
To dry in the oven, make puree as above. Preheat oven to the lowest setting or 200 F. Line cookie sheet with non-stick foil. Spread puree evenly over the foil. Place in the oven and let dry for 3 to 4 hours (oven temperatures will vary). The leather should feel slightly tacky to the touch, but still be pliable. Roll up the fruit leather on the foil and cut into strips about 1-inch wide, or to suit your needs. Store the rolled up strips in an airtight container.