Rosehips, The Vitamin C Flower- Winter 2006-2007 Catalog
By Rebekah Joy Anast
I adore roses. When I lived in Israel an old man down the street had the most magnificent roses. I used to lean on his iron gate and breath in the scent of his garden and repeat my thanks to him for tending such beautiful roses. Every color, every shape, wild and cultured, by the road, in a garden… that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet… And when the rose has faded, and every brightly colored petal fallen to the ground, the most wonderful part of the rose is finally ready to be of use. The bright little berry, wearing a gnarly dried crown, is an amazing natural source of vitamin C!
During World War II when imports of citrus products were limited, rose hips became especially popular in Great Britain. Volunteers spent many hours gathering hips from hedge rows for making rose hip syrup for the Ministry of Health to distribute. At that time, there were plenty of recipes around for eating the actual berries as “dinner vegetables” and as various kinds of preserves and jams. However, they have gone out of fashion now, and most people buy processed ascorbic acid as an inadequate source of vitamin C to meet the so-called “minimum daily requirement.” Native American women not only brewed rose hip tea, but they used the pre-boiled rose hips in soups and stews. The tea “leftovers” (the berries expand a lot) are a good dinner vegetable with butter and salt. There is still a lot of remaining food value in the cooked berries. The most common rose used medicinally is the Rosa Canina, also known as the Dog Rose, or Wild Rose.
Rosehips are the ripe, fresh or dried seed receptacle of Rosa Canina (Dog Rose), one of the most familiar flowers in the world. This round fruit of the rose, usually red in color, is seldom allowed to develop on our modern display roses. However, the prolific old-fashioned shrub types, such as the rugosas, bear rose hips abundantly. These roses, blossoming on thorny briar tangles, flower through June and begin to set their haws, hips or berries, which are red and ripe, by early fall.
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