Rose Hips

Rose hips are the seed pods of roses, both wild and cultivated.  Once the flower petals fall, the hard green hips will swell until they start to ripen in October and November, turning a bright red or orange, depending on the variety.

The word “Hip” originally comes from the Middle English “hepe”.  Among rose growers and specialists, the term is “Hep”.

There are many localised variations, including some weird and wonderful names such as “pixie pears”, “pig’s noses”, “hedge-pedgies” and “nippernails”,

A rich source of vitamin C, usually made into a syrup or jelly and have a documented use since medieval times and Rose Hip syrup became a very important source of vitamin C during the Second World War when oranges were not available. The tons of hips required were collected by armies of volunteers every year.

After the war, rose hip syrup lost some of it’s popularity but recent research has shown that they may play a very important part in the treatment of joint problems such as arthritis and can now be widely found as supplements in tablet and capsule form.

Many varieties of rose hip can be edible but connoisseurs claim Rugosa hips have the best flavour and are the least difficult to prepare.

Preparation of the Hips is quite fiddly and it is important to wear gloves. Each one must be top and tailed,  cut in half and the seeds and irritating hairs removed. Once prepared, they can then stewed, dried or pounded into a paste which freezes well.

Rose Hip recipes;
The Cottage Smallholder – try Katy’s Rose Hip Syrup recipe.
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – Rose hip syrup recipe in the Guardian.
Rose Hip Syrup Recipe and uses from

In the Press;
Rose hips and athirits
article from the NHS
Rose hip “Remedy for Arthritis” report by the BBC