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Rose hips: autumn's forgotten fruit

We know that spending time by water makes us all happier and healthier. Extend the benefits of your visit by taking some free foraged food home with you.

Rose hips

Autumn brings a whole host of delicious offerings back to the kitchen and among the blackberries and sloes there is an unsung hero, 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. The most common rose hips along the canal will be found on dog rose plants.

Rose hips are packed full of goodness and there's an impressive list of reasons to eat more of them:

  • contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K
  • at least 20 times more vitamin C than in 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
  • helps regenerate new skin cells and treat 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

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. Syrup is one of the most common ways to prepare this fruit.

There are plenty of recipes available online. Take advantage of this tangy fruit. Bake, stew, drink and spread the goodness and improve your health at the same time.


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.

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Last Edited: 17 November 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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