Why chase all over the globe for exotic, super expensive superfoods, when at this time of year you can turn to humble rosehips for a multitude of health benefits at a fraction of the cost?
Rosehips are the cheerful bright red and orange berries left on your rose bush once the sweet smelling summer flowers have faded. They are stuffed full of both minerals and vitamins and are said to have around 400 times more vitamin C than lemons, limes and the rest of the citrus family put together. They also contain vitamins A and E and calcium and iron, along with manganese, B-complex, bioflavonoids and pectin and smaller amounts of potassium, sulphur and magnesium. Bursting with goodness. Who knew?
Beauty companies love the rosehip for its anti-ageing, free-radical destroying properties, but for an immune boosting and anti-inflammatory overhaul, experiment with rosehip tea, and if you become a true devotee, a morning dollop of rosehip jam or a lunchtime rosehip soup, will carry you - hopefully flu-free - through the cold damp winter months.
Autumn is the perfect time to collect rosehips from the garden - or you can buy them inexpensively online, dried, and skip the picking, washing and top and tailing. Most recipes use the dried version, so just be aware that if you want to use fresh hips, you will need to increase the weights quoted.
Rosehip tea recipe
This is, even for me, incredibly simple and easy to make. A few cups each day should help calm any inflamed joints, lowering your blood sugar levels at the same time as boosting your kidney health and keeping your skin glowing from the inside.
Put two teaspoons of crushed, dried rosehips into a medium sized jug and pour in boiling water, allowing them to steep and release their anti-oxidant goodness for 10 minutes or so. You may need to experiment here - stronger, weaker? Find the way you prefer it...
Next, strain into a cup and add honey if you prefer a sweeter taste.
And that’s it...
Rosehip jam recipe
Perfect for those sharp, cold winter mornings. Swap your customary high sugar honey or marmalade on toast for a healthy rosehip jam, and sweeten it with apple juice instead. Apparently works wonders as a gentle laxative and prevents constipation. Always a good thing!
Not being a great jam maker, I had to experiment a bit to get this right, so adapt as you prefer, though these I think are the basics that will get you there.
8oz of dried, sieved and de-seeded rosehips
12 oz apple juice
1 tsp orange zest
Put the rosehips and the apple juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for around 5 minutes, then remove from the hob, cover and allow to cool. Leave overnight in the fridge. The next morning add in the orange zest and blend in your food processor to a smooth texture. Pour into as many jam jars as you can - and hey presto!
A food favourite of the Nordic countries to help them get healthily through their long dark winters, this is a bit of an acquired taste. But love it or loathe it, there’s no better way of upping your vitamin C levels and warding off cell damage and disease, than with the huge amounts of anti-oxidants that every tiny rosehip contains. We know we need all the help we can get combatting the free radicals that age us so rapidly: make rosehips your secret weapon and defend against them.
14oz (400g) dried rosehips
1 litre (4 cups) cold water
Sugar or honey to taste
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tablespoon potato starch to thicken (optional)
Soak the dried rosehips in water overnight in a saucepan, and in the morning simmer for about 30 mins until the hips are soft and slightly sticky. Puree them in your food processor and then sieve to separate out the skins and the pips. Add salt and pepper to taste, sweeten with a dash of honey, and add the lemon juice. Bring your soup back to the boil, and depending on its consistency either thicken with the potato starch or add a few spoons of cold water. Serve with a scattering of chives or parsley and a dollop of sour cream.
Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health.
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