Processing Rose Hips (yes, they’re itchy)

Last week I ran over to our local High School where they planted lots of rose rugosa. The hips were perfect after a few frosts.

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I came home with about three pints, then did some research. Turns out that:

  1. Rosehips are packed with vitamin C, calcium and vitamin E (especially the seeds).
  2. The hairs that surround the seeds are the trouble. I can attest to the fact that  the hairs are itchy to the skin.  They are actually made into itching powder. I can only imagine how they would irritate your throat and insides if ingested. That said, some people don’t bother removing them.

First I cut the hips in two, which was pleasantly time consuming and possibly not necessary, but I thought it would speed up drying and make the seeds and hairs more exposed for extraction later on.  I spread them out on two racks to dry near the wood stove.

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After a few days they weren’t fully dry yet. I tried removing the seeds by hand, but who has time for that! Also, in this state, it’s tough to appreciate how many hairs there are, and by hand you wouldn’t get them all out.

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Into the blender they went! I blended on low, not wanting to pulverize the flesh to the same size as the hairs, because then I wouldn’t be able to strain them.

As you can see in the video, there are more hairs than you think!

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I sieved this mess, keeping the seeds, which are packed with vitamin E. I don’t know what to do with them yet. The hairs truly stick to everything. Wipe the counter tops!

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The blending and sieving removed most of the seeds, but much of the hairs still remain, stuck to the flesh in tufts.  They’re easier to pick out, but I’m going to let them dry a little more, then repeat the process, with more pulsing.

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I’ve not decided yet whether to make rose hip jelly, or powder for tea.

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