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Rose hips: Autumn's forgotten fruit

As the summer fades away, autumn’s auburn invasion gradually takes control of all tree and plant life across the nation producing the tastiest and most beautiful scenery of the year.

Rose hips Rose hips

For our canal-goers, autumn brings a whole host of delicious offerings back to the kitchen; jams, fruit pies and crumbles, chutneys and jellies. There is an unsung hero amongst them: the rose hip.

The rose hip is the fruit of the rose plant, usually orangey-red in colour and ready to pick during our autumn season. Found in many gardens and on the canal, they’re packed full of goodness and boast an impressive list of reasons to eat more of them:

  • Contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K
  • There is at least 20 times more vitamin C in a rose hip than an orange
  • High iron content
  • Natural, nutritional and has heaps of anti-oxidants and minerals
  • Eases pain and stiffness of chronic arthritis
  • Soothes a cold
  • The ability to help regenerate new skins cells, treats scars, acne and burns
  • Re-hydrates your skin
  • Also used for diabetes, high cholesterol, gout and sciatica.

How do you know they’re ready for picking?

After the first frost of the year, the rose hips will ripen. Once the petals have dropped off the hip is ready for picking. They should be red in colour and soft to the touch. Don’t pick the shrivelled ones! Leave them for the birds, rabbits and squirrels.

Preparing rose hips

Make sure you thoroughly wash before eating, and be sure to remove the hairs and seeds inside, they are very itchy and would irritate if eaten.

Rose hips can be used to make a number of things including teas, jams, jellies, breads and even wine. You can dry them out, boil them and stew them.

There are plenty of recipes available online! Don’t cut back your roses this year disregarding the hip – take advantage of this tangy fruit – bake, stew, drink and spread the goodness and at the same time…improve your health!


As a replacement for hard-to-get oranges in World War II, the people of Britain used rose hips to make syrups, packed full of vitamin C.

Last date edited: 20 October 2015