I’ve been eating wild rosehips since I was about ten years old. My dad used to take me and my siblings out with him when he went foraging for rosehips, nettles, puffballs, watercress, and probably some other things that I’ve forgotten over the years.
I can’t forget the rosehips, though. Tangy and sweet, with more vitamin C than oranges, they are nature’s little candy bombs.
Many people gather rosehips and dry them out to preserve them. Most often they will make tea from the rosehips. However, vitamin C is destroyed by heat, so if you consume the rosehips in this way, you’re losing out on some excellent nutrition. I like to eat them raw, preferably right where I found them. I’ve developed a technique for this that is fairly straightforward, although it’s hard on the thumbnail. If you have a pocketknife that you can bring foraging, I recommend it. This guideline is for when you forget your knife. Like I pretty much always do.
1. Take off the black end and the stem.
2. Use your thumbnail (or a pocketknife, if you’ve thought ahead) to dig a groove from end to end.
3. Squeeze the two ends together, to ‘pop’ open the rosehip and reveal the seeds.
4. Scrape the seeds out of the shell of the rosehip. Again, with your thumbnail (or knife).
5. Eat the shell of the rosehip. The seeds are furry and don’t really taste that great.
6. Scatter the seeds along your walk as you continue to hike. You never know which one will grow into another wild rose bush!
Technically, all rosehips are edible. Not all are equal in taste, though, and having tried the hybrid rosehips I can tell you that they don’t really taste very good. Not as sweet and tangy as the wild ones.