Rose Hips: How to Harvest, Tea, Soap, Wine & More

Rose Hips: How to Harvest, Tea, Soap, Wine & More

We’ve had our Rosa Rugosa for four years, but this is the first year I’ve been able to taste a rose hip.

Since before written history, rose hips have been harvested in the wild and used as a food source.  They are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C anywhere in nature. 

They are used for teas, jellies, jams, and even soup.  During World War II, the government of Great Britain distributed rose hip syrup to families throughout the country to be sure children were receiving enough vitamin C, since access to many fruits was hampered by the war.

I eagerly watched my rose bush that first year, and it grew little green hips which then turned black and fell off.  The next year, many of the hips turned orange, but I was preoccupied with other things and did not harvest them. 

Last year, I was determined not to let them go.  I watched as the hips grew and turned orange.  After the first hard frost, I dutifully harvested them and took them inside to dry them.

That was when I first tasted a rose hip.  I bit off a little piece in my mouth.  I spit it out along with a bunch of seeds.  “What’s all the fuss about this stuff?” I thought.  It was not pleasant at all.

This year, something remarkable happened.  I watched the hips grow and turn orange, but this time I didn’t have an inclination to harvest them.  Not after last year.  I figured I’d leave them on the bush for the birds to eat during the winter.

Then, one day last week I was walking out the door and past the rose bush and noticed something I had not seen before.  The hips were turning red.  They didn’t stop ripening at “orange,” but kept darkening.  Right in front of me was a rich, tomato-red hip the size of a crab apple.

I plucked it off and took a small bite of the flesh, almost cringing as I remembered last year’s experience.  Wow!  It was juicy, soft, and had a rich fruity taste.  It was something like a cross between an apple and a cantalope in flavor.

Sorry, birds.  No hips for you this year.  I harvested the ripe ones and set them inside to dry.  We’ve picked a couple more that have ripened off since then.  I can’t wait to try the tea.

My problem last year was partly one of bad information and partly of impatience.  The information I read said that the hips should be harvested after the first frosts but before a killing frost.  Well, they simply weren’t ripened off by then.  This year, we had at least three hard, killing frosts before I tasted that first, delicious rose hip.

How to Harvest Rose Hips

You’ve taken to your rose bush, anxiously trying to harvest the sweet brew of red-hued roses. But this is no ordinary rose—it’s a Rose Hip!

Here are some basic steps for removing the hips from the stem and bringing them indoors.”.

Rosehips grow in clusters on the stem of a thorny bush called Rosa rugosa. They have thick, fleshy walls that range in color from salmon pink through fire engine red, and they contain two small seeds encased by a fleshy berry at each end.

Collecting these hips is easy if you simply use your hands to break up the cluster and grasp them with tweezers as you pull out each one or pick them off with pliers. If the hips are too tightly clustered, you may need a little help from your knife.

It’s a good idea to wear protective gloves to prevent cutting or catching anything on your skin, and be sure to wash your hands with warm soap and air-dry them before touching any other part of the bush.

You can also wear two pairs of disposable nitrile or vinyl gloves: one for handling the branches of the rose, and the second pair for picking up the hips.

With practice, you can make light work of this chore. Once you’ve collected the hips, you can dry them in a warm place for at least a week or two and later use them to make essential oils.

Rose Hips Uses

The hips are very nutritious and can be eaten raw as an after-dinner snack. With a little practice, you can harvest enough for your family’s needs.

Fresh rose hips are best but if they’re not available in your area or the weather is inclement, canned rose hip powder may be substituted. Using dried hips will yield enough oil for many uses (such as making lotion), but it must be consumed within six months or so to retain its potency.

When making rose hips into a tincture or syrup, you can either use the hips collected from your own roses, or purchase them from a specialty store. Alternatively, you can purchase rosehip powder in bulk and make your own.

Drying these rosehips is very easy. Simply spread them on a screen mesh to dry in a cool place for several days, or place the dry hips in an airtight container and store for up to three months at room temperature. Once dried, they will keep indefinitely.

Filtered and bottled rose hip oil can be used as an insect repellent, but it would also make an excellent skin tonic. To make your own tonic, simply add a small amount of the oil to your favorite carrier oil. Jojoba oil is an excellent option.

Rose hip vinegar (made from rose hips and apple cider vinegar) can also be used as a tonic, and a compress of rose hip tincture can be cooled to treat painful joints. It should be applied at least twice daily for several weeks.

Rose Hips As Tea

Here’s how to brew some delicious Rose Hip tea: Steep two tbsps Rose Hip tea in one cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove tea leaves or strain through a fine sieve into a cup and drink hot with honey and milk if desired. Enjoy!

Rose Hips As A Tonic

Here’s How To Make Rose Hip Tonic: Grind dried rosehips using a mortar and pestle, or place in a food processor. Mix the ground hips with an equal amount of water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and use as needed in smoothies, juices, lemonade or other recipes that call for Rose Hip Tea.

Rose Hips In Cocktails & Wine Blends

Want to add some elegance to your next cocktail party? Here’s how to make Rose Hip Vodka: Use three cups of water and one cup of dried rosehips for every 750 ml bottle of vodka you wish to make. Allow the mixture to steep 20 minutes in a covered jar. Remove the rosehips and place the liquid in a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Bottle and refrigerate several hours before serving. Great for margaritas!

Make your own Rose Hip Vodka!

Rose Hips In Hair Oil & Balm Lotions

Here’s how to make rose hip lotion: To make an easy hair treatment, mix two tablespoons of rose hips oil with one tablespoon each of jojoba oil and sweet almond oil in a glass jar. Add four drops of essential oil like lavender or geranium to scent the oils. Spray your hair with this mixture before rinsing and towel-drying. Be sure to pat oil through your hair when you’re finished.

Rose Hips In Hair Conditioner & Oil

Here’s how to make rose hip conditioner: Mix one cup of rose hip oil with one cup of extra-virgin olive oil in a glass bottle. Keep the mixture refrigerated, and use as a daily conditioner for dry or damaged hair that needs some nourishment. Rosehip oil is also excellent for any kind of dry skin, including eczema, psoriasis and other conditions. Use it like coconut oil on the skin, or mix it into a favorite lotion or cream as a deep moisturizer.

Rose Hips In Soap & Facial Cleanser

Here’s how to make rose hip soap: To make a facial cleanser, mix in equal amounts Rosehip oil and castor oil. Add about 10 drops of pure essential oil (try lavender, geranium or orange). Store the mixture in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Use two to three times per week as your facial cleanser. Rosehip can be added to lotion or cream recipes for adult skin to help moisturize and speed up healing time from minor burns, bumps and scrapes. It should be used for at least several weeks following an injury to speed healing time and achieve lasting results.

Rose Hips In Skin Care Treatments

Here’s how to make rose hip oil: Rosehip oil is also excellent for any kind of dry skin, including eczema, psoriasis and other conditions. Use it like coconut oil on the skin, or mix it into a favorite lotion or cream as a deep moisturizer.

Rose Hips In Teas & Cures For Shoulder Pain

Many people suffer from shoulder pain that often flares up at night when they’re trying to sleep. I know this pain from working at my desk for hours and hours on end. It causes stiffness in the neck, shoulders and upper arms that can radiate into the joints in the hands, elbows or lower arms. Because arthritis is a frequent cause of shoulder pain, adding rose hips to tea is a great way to soothe your hands, feet and arthritic knees and joints. Here’s how to make a shoulder pain relief tea: Put three heaping teaspoons of rose hip and comfrey leaf in two cups of boiling water. Let the mixture cool down before you drink it, and sip it slowly at night.

Rose Hips In Face Lotion

Rosehip oil is an excellent skin care product for dry skin, including eczema, psoriasis and other conditions. Use it like coconut oil on the skin, or mix it into a favorite lotion or cream as a deep moisturizer. Rosehip can also be added to lotion or cream recipes for adult skin to help moisturize and speed up healing time from minor burns, bumps and scrapes. Rosehip oil is antibacterial and antifungal, so it can help you prevent skin infections and fungus, and also helps relieve itching.

Rose Hips In Soaps & Scrubs

Many people suffer from shoulder pain that often flares up at night when they’re trying to sleep. I know this pain from working at my desk for hours and hours on end. It causes stiffness in the neck, shoulders and upper arms that can radiate into the joints in the hands, elbows or lower arms. Because arthritis is a frequent cause of shoulder pain, adding rose hips to soap making recipes is a great way to soothe your hands, feet and arthritic knees and joints. Rose hips are also a natural anti inflammatory, so you can reduce joint pain in your hands and feet from arthritis while using rose hip soap.

Rose hips are also valuable for soothing the skin and helping with new scars, as well as improving skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Rose Hips In Soap Recipes Call For:

2 parts rosehips kernels

1 part lye water or sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution to make soap base with hard oils. (For soaps with soft oils such as olive oil, coconut oil or palm oil) Use 1 part rosehips kernels to 2 parts sodium hydroxide solution or lye.

Step 3: Mix the components in a blender until very smooth. Set aside for 18 hours.

Step 4: Add 1 cup distilled water into the blender and continue blending. You may need to add up to an additional 6 cups of water until a thick (but pourable) consistency is reached. The consistency will be thicker after refrigeration, so some effort should be taken to keep massaging it with your hand so that any particles do not settle at the bottom. Pour the mixture into a pan and place in a refrigerator for 24 hours, then use immediately or store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to two months. It is important to keep the mixture refrigerated because otherwise the soap will spoil.

Some more information about rose hips:

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