Friday, 7 August 2009

Making rosehip syrup for the first time

I posted a wartime recipe for rosehip syrup on the MIAMI website and as I am the proud owner of a large rambling rose that every year is laden with hips, I decided I had to follow my own advice and give making rosehip syrup a go.

This time last year, my Friend Clare O'Brien stood in my garden and said "What fantastic rosehips - you must make some rosehip syrup!". I looked at her scornfully and replied "If Shirley Conran said life's too short to stuff a mushroom, then it's certainly too short for making rosehip syrup!" And here I am a year later eating my words.

Putting aside childhood memories of being given rosehip syrup on a spoon (it was always much nicer than syrup of figs, cod liver oil or liquid paraffin (vomit!) which were the other occasional remedies that tortured my childhood days) I decided to have a go today. I've been told it's great added to a glass of chilled white wine, like a Kir, as a refreshing cordial or poured onto some ice cream - that has to make it worth a try.

I spent the best part of half an hour up a stepladder, getting the hips down from the rose tree. I trimmed each hip, removing the hairy beards. I later realised I didn't need to do this as the whole mixture gets strained several times during the cooking process. It was nonetheless strangely satisfying. I was accompanied by a rather nice selection of classical piano music as I worked.

My kitchen now smells absolutely gorgeous - the strained liquid is bubbling away in the background as I write this.

My top tips for other would-be rose-hippers
  1. I didn't wholly rely on the wartime recipe but flipped between this and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's from the Guardian - which was very similar. I followed the wartime quantities but allowed the boiled mixture to stand for HFW's recommended half hour rather than the 10 minutes suggested by the old Ministry of Food
  2. I couldn't manage to get any muslin or jelly bags locally - but I found a pair of tights was more than adequate to the task! TOP TIP!
  3. Last but not least - please learn from me! I am almost done and have just realised I have no small bottles to decant the syrup into. Large ones are not a good idea as the mixture only lasts a short time once opened. Doh!
Clare Flynn


  1. I just spent Alllllll day making rosehip cyrup from Hugh Fearnley Whitingstalls' recipe. I did really well and felt quite proud until I tasted it, I'm so dissapointed. It's revoltingly sweet. its horrible. I just looked at a load of other recipes and they all use half as much sugar. GGGrrrrr. how did yours taste? Em

  2. Made my Rosehip Syrup from this recipy and it was fantastic and so easy to do.

    It also says it will keep for up to a year in the fridge unopened - brilliant!