You are probably lucky enough to have encountered a gorgeous, heavenly scented rose before. This iconic flower has another side to her, a lesser known side, like many of us do.
The rose we know today it is a hybridized version of the delicate, humble Wild Rose. From this dainty cutie, humans bred Rosa to be bigger, have many more petal and come in a rainbow of colors, sizes and scents. (Someone even had the audacity to selectively breed some varieties without even preserving a subtle scent! Maybe the allergy sufferers can appreciate it, but I digress.)
One way to learn to understand a plant is to learn about the family it belongs to. For rose it’s an easy one to remember; it’s part of the Rose family. This family includes our apples, pears, peaches, raspberries and many other well known and edible plants. Though not all rose family plants produce edible fruit, many do.
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Simply being in the presence of roses can help to uplift and inspire a gloomy perspective. In addition, they are also a wild or foraged food, a gentle food-as-medicine herb and beneficial for skin health.
A Wild Food | After the showy flowers die back in Autumn, green fruits start to mature. They grow in to bright red edible fruits (the “hips”) that are often plump and juicy. The size and shape varies a bit. They’re no sweet peach, but the flesh is edible, and the bright red hue high in healthy antioxidants and vitamin C.
Health Benefits | The rose hips high antioxidant content make them a valuable ally in diseases related to capillary damage, such as diabetes and heart disease. They also contain a good amount of pectin, which can sooth an irritated digestive tract. (See the Simple Recipe below!)
Skin Care | Topically, rose hip seed oil and rose water (the rose infused water that’s separated from the aromatic oils when making rose essential oil) are both soothing and hydrating to the skin. Many skin conditions respond well to rose water, including acne, psoriasis and dry/sensitive skin.
How to harvest Rose Hips
You get very clear on your plant identification first! Getting multiple sources such as a reference books and the opinion of a nature expert is recommended. Learn about proper, sustainable harvesting and foraging practices and don’t harvest from sprayed bushes.
Once you are sure it’s an edible rose hip, you can nibble away on it as long as you steer clear of the fuzzy seeds in the center. These “hairy” seeds are not pleasant to ingest or digest so do be careful. You can nibble on these fruits like tiny apples, or remove the flesh and add to other food or beverages, or process and dry for later use. Bonus tip: Grind up dried rosehips to make a natural powder that’s high in Vitamin C.
Since the processing can take a bit of time, some opt to simply buy dried and deseeded rose hips from a reliable source or health food store.
Bonus recipe: Super Simple Rose Applesauce:
– Add 2 Tbsp dried rosehips to 1/2 cup of apple juice
– Wait 2+ hours for the hips to soften up
– Add this with with 1 cups of apples and blend
Refrigerate and enjoy your High Vitamin C Rose Applesauce in the next 3 days.