On our recent bike ride to Harbor Island, our last stop was at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 18 Park. It’s a narrow strip of waterfront access, perfect for watching the barges head under the West Seattle Bridge. It is also landscaped in Rose Rugosa, a rugged shrub that I know as “Beach Rose”.
Vic was entranced with its large and eye-popping fruit.
“What are these?” “Rose hips”, I told him. “Like in tea?” “Well, not exactly…”
Many of the bike trails in Seattle are lined with Rugosa, and while I’ve often thought of using them for something, I had never gotten around to actually doing it. With Vic standing there and excited to eat them, we quickly harvested several pounds and brought them home.I’ve only heard of rose hip jelly, but never had it. I am going to guess that there are more traditional rose hips one would use to make this and that somewhere in the world there are farms where rose hips are the crop, so that everyone has enough to add to tea, rose water, and potpourris. These large rugosa roses aren’t those. When cooked, they smell and look much more like a tomato and I had my doubts about the tastiness of the jelly.
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. It’s got a slight citrus punch to it, but imagine, if you will, being combined with flavor of licking the outside of a ripe nectarine, but not actually taking a bite. It’s fruity and yet delicate. It’s not floral at all. Ending up with only six jars, it’s likely that I won’t be giving it away. It’s that good.Rose Hip Jelly
I looked at two sources while making this jam. The excellent East Coast blog, Poor Girl Gourmet who is going to break down the cost for you and she used this type of rose. And Seattle’s own, Langdon Cook, of the Fat of the Land blog, who definitely got a more romantic jelly using wild rose hips gathered after the first frosts.
8 pounds of rose hips
Water to cover rose hips in a big pot
Sugar equal to the amount of juice you get
Juice from 2 Lemons
Clean the rose hips, breaking off the stem and old withered flower bits. If your rose hips appear to have any holes on them, you ought to be slicing them open and looking for worms. One batch I gathered were infested with that damn’ed coddling moth I think! Throw out any bruised or otherwise nasty pieces or feed them to your chickens. You will notice that the Rugosa hips are mainly seed and thistle (which is why you need so much!), but don’t try to clean out the seeds!
Instead, once you’ve got clean fruit put it in a large pan, cover with water. Bring to boil on medium heat and then simmer until the roses are cooked. This ought to take about an hour.
I then left the pot in the fridge for two nights with all the hips soaking because I got busy with other things. You could do this with no harm done, or just proceed to the next task!
Press the rose hips through a food mill to get a first pass at all those seeds. Once you’ve got your pulp extracted, hang it in a jelly bag undisturbed for several hours to get your liquid. It will be a pale orange color. Resist the urge to squeeze that jelly bag. It will cloud your liquid.
Now we’re on to jelly making! In a large pot, combine the juice (I got about about six cups of juice) and an equal measure of sugar and the juice of the two lemons. Bring to a boil that won’t stir down and then cook until you get to jell phase. I finally bought a thermometer to check when I get to 240, but it doesn’t work with my pot, especially for a small batch of jelly! Drats! So I use the cold plate test once I think the stuff is getting there. Still my jelly turned out less jelled and more like honey, but heck, that just gives it a different allure.
If you were going to use pectin, I would recommend the liquid pectin and I would bring to boil, boil for a minute, add the pectin, bring back to a boil for another minute and then call it good.
Now all that’s left is to get it into your clean hot jars and put it in the water bath for 10 minutes.