I’ve never gathered rose hips before but judging by the thousands of plump ripe hips in the local hedgerows it looks like 2015 has been a good year for rose hips!
So inspired by the recipe for rose hip jelly at simplyrecipes.com I gathered the required 2 quarts of hips. The hips seemed fully ripe, with some quite soft so I was harvesting at their peek condition.
Following the recipe, I put the hips in a pot and brought them to the boil. They should have been simmered for an hour but it was an hour and a half before I returned to the process, by which time the hips were very soft and the liquid quite thick. Using a potato masher the hips were quickly reduced to a pulp but having boiled away much of the water it was difficult to strain much juice out of the mash.
Too the rescue came a small wine press. The mashed hips were wrapped in muslin and squeezed in the press, but even using the press only gave me a cup full of liquid, leaving most of the goodness still in the mash. So I returned the mash to the pan, mashed in some more water and left the mixture to steep for a couple of hours.
The mash was then returned to the press and at least a couple more cups of juice were extracted. The juice collected this way was quite thick and gloopy with quite a distinct and pronounced flavour!
From this point on the recipe was followed as planned and the result was four and bit jars of very tasty rose hip jelly. The taste is difficult to describe – fruity, sweet, red wine, autumn berries, passion fruit? – a unique and tasty addition to my collection of sweet delights! 🙂
The jelly did not set as firm as I would have liked it to, more of a sticky paste than a jelly. I used one 24g sachet of Tate & Lyle pectin, maybe I should have added more, though I have noticed that there are some hard jelly lumps in the mix so maybe it did not dissolve properly? I sprinkled the pectin onto the juice in the pan but it was quite hard to dissolve, requiring a lot of stirring. Maybe next time I’ll mix it into a paste with a little water first.
I shall make this recipe again at some stage as it has been relatively simple and successful. However it seemed to me that a lot of goodness still remained in the pulp that was thrown onto the compost heap. So next time I will probably take the trouble to cut open the hips and remove the seeds. Hopefully, once boiled and mashed I will be able to get more of the goodness out of the hips leaving only skins and fibre to be thrown away.
Thanks Elise for the recipe.