On a walk the other day I passed a couple of large Wild Rose bushes which were covered in plump, bright red and orange rose hips. Now I am not someone who misses out on an opportunity if I can help it, so out came the foraging pouch and I set about picking a good load of these beautiful little berries.
After 20 minutes or so I had a nice little haul so I left the remaining berries on the bushes for the birds to have a feast. I have been meaning to pick some hips for a couple of years now but have never gotten around to it, not this year though. Recently I have seen a few recipes for various uses of Rosehips on a couple of foraging pages on I belong to on Bookface, so when I got back to the van and was having a rest before heading home I surfed through these pages and settled on making a nice jam.
Once home and the pouch was unloaded I weighed in a healthy 950gram of hips, which was more than I originally thought I had picked. I washed and bagged them before chucking them in the freezer ready for the weekend.
Sunday morning and it was time to get my cook on, so out of the freezer came the hips to slightly thaw whilst I readied the rest of the ingredients needed and the tools needed to get the job done. First thing was to cut the ends off, thats the stalk one end and the blackened flower end, each and every hip so as not to make the jam bitter, and what a laborious chore that was. Once this was done that was done the hips were chucked in a saucepan with 750 ml of water and the pared zest of one lemon. This little lot was then slow boiled until the hips were nice and mushy.
Once they were mushy I gave them a good smash with a potato masher before dropping the lot in a sieve and draining out the liquid into another saucepan. I think I boiled away too much water so I then put the remaining pulp back in another saucepan and added another 200ml of water and brought that to the boil before straining all the liquid from that as well.
I was now left with a nice orange colour liquid in the saucepan which I then added 680g of sugar to, I could of used jam sugar but did not have any so added 3 heaped teaspoons of pectin to the mix, the juice from the zested lemon and then grated 4 x eating apples into the mix. I thought the addition of the apples was odd but followed the recipe anyway. I then brought mixture slowly to a boil so the sugar would dissolve and then turned the heat up to a rolling boil for roughly 30 minutes before trying the jam on a cooled plate to see if it would set. It did not set at first so I reduced the mix a little and it looked a lot better.
Once I was happy with the consistency I poured the jam into my jars and sealed the lid tight and waited for that lovely ‘pop’ the lids make when they seal successfully. In total I got 1 large jam jar and 5 small jam jars out of this process and on tasting it is beautiful. A really delicate but flavoursome jam which I can’t wait to use once it has cooled down. Although it is a little bit of a faff to make the finished product is definitely worth the effort and I would recommend anyone to make it.
And I did not waste the remaining pulp either as I stuffed it into a wild bird seed feeder and hung it up in the garden. That way I don’t feel so guilty nicking their winter food….