The past few days have been cold and frigid in PA, today warmed up to 50 so I made the most of it and took a hike. While I was out I came across some rose hips. Rose hips can be eaten raw, but we dry them to use in our teas and Kombucha. The best time to harvest rose hips is in the cooler months after the first frost where they become soft and sweet.
The Multi-flora Rose is a common invasive species originating from to Japan and China, and can be found abundantly in our area. The rose hips of the Multi-flora Rose are small, unlike some cultivated varieties. I do recommend using gloves if you plan to gather rose hips.
To air dry rose hips, I give them a rinse with warm water, pat dry, and de-stem. To de-stem I found that using a pair of scissors works great to speed up this process. Then I spread them out on cardboard paper, and let them sit for a few weeks give them a turn every few days until they are completely dry.
A quicker way is to use a dehydrator or the oven or toaster oven. Since I do not have a dehydrator I use my over to help with the drying process. To start I rinse and de-stem the rose hips. Next I cover my toaster over tray with aluminum foil, add the rose hips to the tray, and place it in the oven. Set the oven to the lowest temperature, and set the timer to 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes rotate the rose hips, and reset the timer for another 10 minutes. Continue to do this for at least an hour or longer depending on the size of your rose hips. Keep checking to make sure that you do not burn your rose hips.
When your rose hips have dried you can store them in a glass jar or a brown paper bag away from sunlight.
Dried rose hips can be used in a number of ways. Try steeping some with your next cup of tea, a homemade vinaigrette, or kombucha. See our recipes that include rose hips. Rosemary, Rose hip and Sage Kombucha Recipe and Cranberry, Grapefruit, Hibiscus, and Rose hip Kombucha