Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Gathering Rosehips and Making Tea [Recipe]

Did you know you may have a tasty tea that is free for the taking and incredibly nutritious?  Back when I lived in Colorado, it wasn't uncommon to drink herbal teas because we had Celestial Seasons up in Boulder.  Little did I know that I'd be sort of following in their footsteps when I got to Montana and started foraging berries.  One exceptional berry that should be on everyone's list (whether they live in Montana or not) is the rosehip. Rosehips are high in Vitamin C and contain Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

Where the Wild Roses Grow

The rosehip is the seed pod of the species rose or wild rose.  It is oval or round in shape with a red or orange case and an interior that has some fruit pulp and seeds. Species roses grow everywhere, but there are subspecies of roses throughout the United States and Canada. Like the domestic rose, they have thorns and bright flowers (usually pink).  Species roses usually have five petals.

Wild roses grow near water sources, but I've also seen them in fields.  The fruit tastes anywhere from bland to very sweet, fruity with a hint of flowers.  But the floral taste isn't overpowering.  It's a popular food for bears and birds, so when you're picking, be sure to have someone watching out while you pick because you might run into a bear who might not want you gathering his berries.

How to Recognize Rosehips

Rosehips are easy to recognize because of their color and shape. They have wispy "hairs" at the bottom where the flower dried up.  You'll find them on rose bushes, which have thorns.  Domesticated roses have rosehips, but never use those that have been sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals.  If you aren't sure if you found a rosehip or a rose bush, have someone who knows what rosehips look like help you identify them.  Don't take chances, but rosehips are one of the few fruits that are very obvious.

Berry Picker
When you gather your rosehips, wear heavy gloves.  Even if you use a berry picker like I do, you'll want to wear gloves or get your hands and wrists scraped up by the thorns.

Making Tea

Once you have your rosehips, you can dehydrate them for later use. Whether you have fresh or dried, you can make rosehip tea or tisane. ("Tisane" is the term for herbal teas.) Rosehip tea is easy to make. I always drink from a mug, so my recipes are for 12 ounces or more for tea.  Of course, if you use a normal 8-ounce cup, you'll have a stronger tea if you use the same amount of rosehips, but because rosehips have no caffeine, you're more likely to just get a strong fruity flavor without bitterness.

The tea gurus claim that herbal teas or tisanes need a much lower temperature than black or green tea.  This is because you'll "cook" the herbs instead of brewing them.  So the temperature you should brew at is somewhere around 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.  You can use an electric water kettle like the one I have and adjust the temperature perfectly.

Rosehip Tea Recipe

1 TBSP fresh rosehips mashed or 1 1/2 tsp dried rosehips crumbled, or about 10 whole rosehips before crumbling or mashing

1 1/2 cups water (12 ounces)

1 tsp sugar (optional)

Heat water to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place rosehips in the tea infuser in your teapot.  Add water.  Steep 3 to 5 minutes. Strain into your mug and add sugar, if desired.

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