Monday, 16 October 2017

Rosa-de-cão,fruit from the hip, the hippest hip around

This year I have really enjoyed getting to know the food on our doorstep.We have arbutus,wild fennel,poejo, river mint, nettles and wild strawberries in our garden.My latest discovery is rosehips at the top of our garden.We have a wild rose or dog rose and at this time of year it yields rosehips.In Portuguese, it comes by many names Rosa-brava, Rosa-canina, rosa-de-cão, roseira-de-cão, roseira, roseira-brava, roseira-silvestre, Silva-macha, Silvão, rosa-bandalha.Its scientific name is Rosa canina and belongs obviously to the large Rosaceae family.It's hip to be environmentally conscious,and to be able to forage all this goodness without opening the garden gate is inspirational. It is a fruity red berry with rock hard seeds inside.This means you can’t just eat them straight off the bush, however they can be processed in a number of ways.Rosehips have a fantastic sharp/sweet quality. I love this sort of thing in sweet and savoury dishes. My mixologist head  is already telling me gin and rosehip cordial,or how about pan-fried quail with a pan jus and rosehip syrup vinaigrette. I bet it would be delicious. Rosehip syrup is pretty sweet, so you can incorporate a fresh ingredient for contrast.Apple is a good choice at this time of year.This discovery takes me back to my childhood. Rosehip syrup is packed with hedgerow goodness and is dripping with vitamin C, and has long had a reputation for keeping colds at bay all winter. Far from being austere, though, it has a surprisingly tropical tang, with notes of lychee and mango. Diluted with about five parts cold water, it makes a delicious cordial drink, which kids will love, and a fantastic autumn cocktail for grown-ups. It's also an indulgent alternative to maple syrup on ice cream, waffles and pancakes.Rosehips contain twenty times more vitamin C than you find in oranges. As a result, and due to the lack of citrus fruits, the British government during World War Two encouraged citizens to make rosehip syrup to prevent the large outbreaks of scurvy. My mother was a great exponent of this and for me as a child it was such a treat to drink it. I will always remember hot September days as a child, when we would take the hips of wild dog roses, open them and put the hairy seeds, which were a very effective natural itching powder, down each other's shirts We thought it great fun to put the seeds in people’s clothes.How bad was that? Rosehip Syrup was sold commercially in the UK after the war by a company called Delrosa.

English children were paid threepence per lb for rosehips harvested in the autumn to be made into rosehip syrup by the company Delrosa in Wallsend (near Newcastle). For many years after the war, Delrosa brand Rose Hip Syrup was supplied along with Delrosa Orange for babies, through baby clinics throughout the UK. The product appears to have been discontinued now but is still available in America.
This is an original advertisement from Woman's Own dating back to 1953.
Rosehip Syrup
Rosehip Syrup  is packed with hedgerow goodness.
This is a variation on the original rosehip syrup recipe.

1kg rosehips, washed and chopped 1kg caster sugar You will also need a jelly bag (or a clean cotton cloth and a big sieve)
Put two litres of water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Throw in the chopped rosehips, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for half an hour, stirring from time to time.
Strain the mixture through a jelly bag. (Alternatively, line a colander with a couple of layers of muslin and place over a large bowl. Tip in the rosehip mixture, and leave suspended over the bowl.)
Set the strained juice aside and transfer the rosehip pulp back to the saucepan, along with another litre of boiling water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, infuse for another half an hour and strain as before. Discard the pulp and combine the two lots of strained juice in a clean pan. Bring to the boil, and boil until the volume has decreased by half. Remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to the stove, bring to the boil and boil hard for five minutes. Pour into warmed, sterilised jars or bottles and seal.

Rosehip Vinegar 
Put 20 to 30 whole or slightly crushed fruits in a vial of cider vinegar, close and leave in the sun for a month, then strain and store.Use to season salads, also very effective in gargling (a tablespoon in half a cup of warm water) to relieve sore throats.


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