Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hedgerow Medicine

Come November the Rosehips are ripe and ready for picking.

I like to dry a batch to keep over Winter. To dry them I place them on a baking tray in the lowest possible oven setting for about 6 hours, checking regularly to avoid burning.

To make a vitamin C rich Rosehip syrup I add the Rosehips to a pan of water. Measurements are rough but anything similar to the ratio above should work.
I leave the Hips to simmer on a low heat with a couple of Star Anise until they soften and their skins begin to plump up and burst. 
I crush the Hips against the side of the pan with a fork and once the mixture reduces by about a quarter I sieve it into another pan where I add honey by the tablespoon until the mixture becomes sweet but not cloyingly so.
I further reduce the syrupy mixture by simmering until it glistens and thickens. Then once it has cooled a little, not too much as it will be hard to pour by then, I freeze it in an ice tray. One ice cube adds a perfect dash of sweetness and extra vitamin C to a mug of Berry, Ginger or Cinnamon Herbal Tea.

I make an Elderberry Syrup in a similar way adding Juniper Berries, Clementine halves, a Lemon Half and about two inches of fresh Ginger along with the Star Anise when simmering. I don't add more than a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan with the berries as the warmth from the stove soon unlocks their glossy, deep magenta juices creating it's own liquid.
I also Simmer the Elderberry mixture for a little longer so all the flavors can seep fully into the aromatic syrup, (at least two hours on low heat.)

Once the Elderberry syrup has cooled a little I freeze it into an ice cube tray. One cube of Elderberry Syrup is delicious stirred into fresh, natural yogurt or added to a Juice or Smoothie.

I made this wonderfully soothing honey mixture while trying to recover from a bout of Tonsillitis earlier this Autumn.  I chopped some Garlic and fresh Ginger into some honey and sprinkled in some fresh Thyme although Sage, Lemon Balm or Rosemary would probably work as well. Do however, remember to avoid Rosemary if pregnant or breast feeding. The honey absorbed the properties of the steeped herbs and had a real tang to it. I took a teaspoonful 4 times a day.


  1. Plants are great for healing aren't they. I am wishing I had made more rosehip syrup and frozen it as I could do with the extra vitamin c now.


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