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Rosehip Syrup: Nectar of Aphrodite

rosehips on a rose bush

I started to make my own rosehip syrup last year from the wild rose in my garden and it's really and easy. I'm renaming it as Nectar of Aphrodite because it tastes divine and this gorgeous goddess is associated with roses. I've just made a batch which should keep me in heavenly deliciousness all the way to next summer.

You'll need:

Jars or small bottles to store your precious nectar. Sterilise these and their caps just as you would for jam making - they'll need to be hot at the point you bottle the syrup. I put mine through a baby bottle steam steriliser.

Something to strain the syrup. I bought a jelly bag and stand this year. Last year I used a very fine mesh nylon sieve. It needs to be fine as rosehips contain tiny hairs that are an irritant for your throat if you let them get into the finished syrup.

Golden Caster Sugar - equal to the weight of the hips you pick

First step is to go out and pick your rosehips. Don't leave it too long once they ripen as they'll start to fall off and go mushy. Obviously if you are foraging avoid picking those hips growing by busy roads. My original recipe was for 300g of hips. I doubled the amounts this year and I still have plenty of rosehips left for the birds!

Rub off the dried brown sepals and remove any stalks (the finer remnants of the stamens aren't an issue) then give the rosehips a wash.

rosehips picked sepals rubbed off and washed

For 300g rosehips you'll need 300g sugar, so it is easy to change up quantities according to what you pick. I used a ratio of 1 litre of water per 300g hips.

Bring half the water to the boil in a pan and then add the hips. Once they've had five minutes or so simmering to soften them a little you can take them off the heat and give them a quick mashing to release some more flavour. Leave them covered to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the hips and liquid into a bowl. Don't press or squash them through, be patient and let the liquid drip - you don't want to push the irritant hairs through the strainer.

rosehips steeping in a pan

Bring the other half of the water to the boil and put the pulpy rosehips in. Take the pan back off the heat and give the hips another little mash - they'll probably be much softer this time.

Let them steep for 15 minutes more then strain the liquid into the bowl. Again be patient. Even when I thought all the liquid had finished straining and was onto the next step I left a small dish under the strainer just in case and was rewarded with some more concentrated rosy nectar!

Now wash your pan and put the strained rosehip liquid into your clean pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer. You are aiming to reduce the liquid by half which will concentrate the flavour - it takes 20 to 30 minutes. Next time I might trial reducing it for even longer to get a thicker syrup.

reducing rosehip syrup in a pan

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the liquid simmer for another 5 - 10 minutes. The longer you simmer the thicker it will get.

Once you are happy with the consistency let it cool for just a few minutes before carefully pouring it into your hot sterilised jars or bottles - I'd advise doing this over a heatproof tray and wearing an apron as I splashed hot sticky syrup all over my hob and came close to getting splashes on myself too and that was despite using a funnel!

Cap your bottles and jars, let them cool, label them and store in a cool dark place. I keep the jar in current use in the fridge. I was quite frugal with last year's stock - just taking a dessert spoonful at a time for a little taste of rosy sweetness which I swear saw off several sore throats last winter. The taste is a lovely treat that makes me think warm Goddess thoughts. If you made a thicker, more sugary syrup you could try it as a tasty cordial and top up with fizzy water, or perhaps even drizzle a little over ice-cream.

rosehip syrup in clean jars ready to store


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