I would like to harvest the rose hips from my rose bush because I have heard such good things concerning hips. We had our first frost last night and the rose hips have turned a yellow color. I only have one bush that has very limited hips but if this is worth it, I would consider putting in more roses for the hips. Since I know nothing concerning gathering or harvesting them, would you be able to tell me what I should look for, how to harvest, and how to use the harvested hips? Thank you.
Diane, McMinnville, Oregon
here is some info about Rosehips
The prickly rose, Rosa acicularis
and the wood rose, R. woodsii
, are wild roses common on the American prairies. They grow best in free draining, rich soil, and like full sun. The fruit are ready mid-August to late September (Northern Hemisphere) and should be harvested after the first hard frost when they are bright red and slightly soft to the touch. They can be eaten raw - and vitamin C content is highest when first picked. Remove the seeds because the hairs can irritate the digestive system. Wild roses can be propagated through seed, cuttings, transplanting suckers, or by budding on a suitable rootstock.
Some general info here:
this link has info on growing and when to harvest plus a jam recipe:
Any roses treated with chemical pesticides and fertilisers will produce toxic flowers. If you are in the process of converting to organic, make sure nothing like this has been used on the rose plants for at least a year before harvesting for eating.
Vitamin C content:
Many types of fruit are higher in vitamin C content when the fruit is slightly immature, while content decreases as the fruit nears peak ripeness. However for a few types of fruit, the vitamin C content actually rises with increased ripeness.
Vitamin C content decreases with storage but about two-thirds is still retained when dried. Gentle handling will prevent loss of the vitamin.
The rose hips of the dog rose have the highest amounts of vitamin C.