In this blog we are going to have a look at rosehip honey. Many of you may of heard of rosehip syrup, well this is something very similar. The main difference lays in the consistency, we are looking to produce something a little thicker so we can spread it on anything for a little sweetness, from fresh warm bread to delicious ice cream.
Rosehips are a fantastic little berry, they contain a tremendous amount of vitamin C, almost twenty five times more than an orange, weight for weight. A not so delightful little fact about them are the small hairs inside them, these are extremely irritating if ingested or even just on the skin. This is known to school children who refer to them as itching powder and for good reason. We will need to take precautions to avoid any of them entering the honey.
Firstly we will need to get out there and collect our rosehips. I am not going to give out precise measurements in this blog as there really is no need. Whatever you manage to collect will obviously determine the amount of honey you will be able to produce. Once you have collected your hips you will want to go through them to ensure you remove any bad ones, along with any of the stalks too.
The next stage is to split them open a little bit to help release some of the delicious flavour they contain inside. You can do this with a mortar and pestle or simply a round of green food safe wood with the bark removed and a suitable bowl. They put up a little resistance so it is easier to do two or three at a time rather than a handful. If you prefer you can do this after the first boiling stage to make life easier, but you will release more of the flavour at an earlier stage if you do this beforehand.
With the hips now split open a little they can go into a suitable container, just covering them with water and onto your camp fire or hob at home. Allow them to simmer for a good 16 minutes with the lid on, after which you will need to strain them through a few layers of muslin to retain the small irritant hairs.
Once you have strained the fragrant liquid into another container you can use a spoon to mash them up further, getting some more of the juice out. This will also help draw out some further flavour as we now return the mashed hips back to the pot and add enough water just to cover them and simmer for a further 12 minutes.
After the second simmering, repeat the staining process and combine all your juice together. To make the honey add an equal volume of sugar to the amount of juice you have. To make the honey consistency we used jam sugar which contains pectin, this will help the liquid thicken up. If you can not find this in your supermarket, you can use haws as they have a naturally high pectin content or some Certo. Now return to a gentle heat. Stir the liquid until all the sugar has dissolved and then bring to a gentle simmer. Allowing it to simmer away until it thickens a little.
Rosehip honey and dandelion coffee sprinkles on ice cream
After it has thickened it can be poured into sterile jars for storage. Once it has cooled it will thicken up a little further to form a honey like consistency. Now all that remains is to simply enjoy. I added my rosehip honey to Dutch oven ice cream, to which I also added with some dandelion coffee sprinkles.