Rosehips. You've probably walked or cycled past them without any idea what they are. They're red, they have thorns and they could you help you steer clear of a cold this winter.
Rosehips are one of the few winter foods I consider worth foraging, and this is a classic recipe for rosehip syrup, based on the Ministry of Food pamphlet.
During the Second World War, when our ships, carrying fresh fruit from far flung corners of the empire, were being sunk by Uboats on a regular basis, the government realised that something had to be done to ensure that British school children received sufficient Vitamin C to maintain good health.
Fortunately, this time of year, our hedgerows are full of rosehips, which pound for pound contain more vitamin C than oranges, so the Ministry of Food produced a pamphlet to teach people how to make this health boosting elixir.
A little known fact is that rosehip syrup is also rather splendid stirred into a glass of whisky, for purely medicinal reasons, of course.
1.5 litres of water
250g dark brown soft sugar
Bring to the boil 1 litre of water.Finely chop rosehips, or blend in a food processor until well broken up, then add to the boiling water.Bring water back to the boil, then remove from heat and allow the mixture to infuse for 20 minutes.Pour rosehips and liquid into a sterilised jelly bag or muslin and allow the juice to drip through. Gently squeeze the jelly bag to extract as much liquid as possible. Be careful not to rip the bag.Add rosehip pulp back to a saucepan containing 1 litre of water and bring back to the boil. Then remove from heat and allow the contents to infuse for another 20 minutes before straining through the jelly bag as in step 3.Add sugar to the strained rosehip liquid and dissolve, allow to simmer for five minutes, then pour into hot, sterilised bottles.
Makes approximately 1 litre of rosehip syrup.