You may be familiar with the many culinary uses of rose hips such as jellies, teas, and wines, but did you know you can also eat them fresh from the plant? What a treat!
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant, which occur in fall after successful pollination. They range in color from orange to deep red and in size from a pea to a plum. In addition to being a rich source of vitamin c, they also contain an abundance of vitamin a, calcium, and fiber.
While all rose hips are edible, some are not worth eating. Typically the more hybridized the rose, the less tasty. Look for simple, wild, and native varieties.
Rosa virginiana, known as Virginia Rose, Common Wild Rose, Prairie Rose
There are a variety of techniques when it comes to eating rose hips, all which are centered on avoiding the fibrous center which contain the seeds. If ingested these fibers could cause what the Aboriginal people called “itchy bottom disease.” Even touching the fibers in excess can cause a slight irritation.
Here is one technique.
Here is another; I call it the squirrel technique.
Harvest your rose hips! They should be easy to pull off and plump.
Rinse the handful you are about to devour.
Rub the rose hip back and forth on a cloth or your jeans to remove the prickles on the outside.
All clean and ready to eat!
Eat like a squirrel, consuming only the outside of the fruit, avoiding the fibrous seed pouch in the middle.
Like so! Yum! Tastes a bit like a mix between persimmon and apple.
For comparison,: on the left, an uneaten rose hip, on the right, a thoroughly enjoyed rose hip.
Here, you can see the rose hip seed “pouch” opened up. This is what you want to avoid!
The seeds, like apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and the fibrous hairs are irritating. This shouldn’t deter you from eating them, just nibble around them!
Make sure to wash your rose hips, they may have chemicals sprayed all over them!
Like anything you consume, its best to practice caution. Aside from the fibrous seed packs, I have never come across any alarming information regarding rose hips. If you should try them, do your research just to be on the safe side!
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” — Brillant-Savarin
If this is the case, why not be a rose?