If you keep your eyes peeled, you may find wild roses covered with rose hips, especially along country roads in Tasmania. After we left Wychwood Garden on the weekend we gathered rose hips for syrup.
Rose hips are rich in Vitamin C (do you remember Delrosa?)
The bushes are extremely thorny so beware.
We chose some that had been close to a good water source and had developed beautiful cheery bright plump fruit.
We also found some roadside apples too for the picking. They made a juicy snack for the journey home and we duly deposited our cores with hopes of another tree just like it in the future.
It's important to not totally denude the trees and bushes though because they also provide food for the birds too.
After washing the hips, I wizzed them in the food processor (about a kilo) and added them to three litres of water and brought it to the boil and then removed them from the pot and allowed them to steep for a time. As for the rhubarb cordial, I strained through muslin and tied the bag and suspended it from a broom handle across an upturned dining room chair allowing it to fully drip through to the collection bowl beneath.
The resulting liquid looks a lot like the strange vermilion of canned tomato soup. I brought this to a gentle simmer and allowed it to reduce till there was about only a litre of liquid left. To this I added a kilo of sugar and stirred till it was dissolved then brought the temperature back up to 170C and bottled into warm bottles sterilised in the oven at 100C for 15mins.
(Similar process to Rhubarb Cordial)
The resulting syrup is a darker fiery red and delicious mixed with soda water.
Now imagine a splash in hot water for a comforting hot Vitamin C drink.
Bottle into smallish bottles because once opened it should be consumed within the week and kept in the fridge after opening.
These little bottles would make a really thoughtful gift for a sick friend laid low with a cold.
If you are traipsing the by-ways you might like to check out some Hedgerow Recipes here.