Rose Hip Syrup - Good health from the forest garden. Low sugar recipe for freezing

I make rose hip syrup every year and as you can see I have a large amount of the raw material. The rosa rugosa roses in my garden are the easiest to use. I have to be quick though because these, large and luscious fruits are the first to be taken by the birds. I also use rosa canina the beautiful wild hedgerow rose, which I also cultivate and the prolific rosa filipes 'Kiftsgate' (pictured below), which has self-seeded in various forms all over the garden. This latter has small but delicious little fruits, which are so numerous that I am left with plenty of syrup material, even after the wild birds and my own hens have made inroads into them.

Raw materials for organic rose hip syrup

Meg Merrilies rose for organic rose hip syrup
This year however, my main ingredient has been the largish fruits of the beautiful sweet briar which has draped itself over our greenhouse. Meg Merrilies, which is one of the first roses I ever planted here, has lived up to her name. Meg Merrilies aka Jean Gordon, was a famous seeress and a gypsy queen who lived in the Cheviot Hills, a mountain range which crosses the English Scottish borders. I moved her several times after I planted her as she never seemed to do well but since she can now scramble all over the greenhouse and up the pear tree she is happy and blooms and fruits, in profusion.

Rose hips used to be one of the prime sources of Vitamin C during the World Wars when the importation of citrus fruits was restricted. We keep a stock in the freezer, in case of Winter colds. Rose hips have been  used in medicine for over two millennia. The Romans had over 30 conditions which they treated with these fruits and the use of rose hips is a well-known treatment in the present day for various conditions including, anti-inflammatory therapy for osteoarthritis.

rosa filipes Kiftegate - organic rose hip syrup recipeAmongst their virtues, rose hips have high levels of Vitamin C and also contain minerals such as calcium and manganese. They are also rich in:
  • antioxidant flavenoids, such as tiliroside
  • carotenoid pigments, such as lycopene
  • plant sterols, 
  • tocotrienols 
  • anthocyanins
  • catechins  plus other polyphenolics or pytochemicals which protect the body against free radical damage and thus aid in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Rose hips also contain 5% pectin and are a traditional diuretic.

We use the syrup in many dishes from ice cream and pancakes to cocktails and cakes. Here's my basic recipe, using less sugar than usual because firstly I think it tastes better and secondly, I freeze it rather than bottle it.


(with US product links) (UK links at bottom of page)

1¼ cups (250g) of Fresh rose hips
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star Anise
1 Pint (500ml) of water
Approx ½ cup (100g) Raw cane sugar aka rapadura/sucanat or Coconut blossom sugar


Dog roses rosa canina recipe rose hip syrup - organic

Put all the ingredients except for the sugar into a pan.

Crush the rose hips with a fork or potato masher. The less ripe ones will crush better when cooked but the reason for doing this is so that the rose hips do not come in contact with the air when they are broken open because otherwise they will lose almost all their Vitamin C content.

Recipe for organic rose hip syrup

Simmer, without a lid for 20 minutes.

Organic rose hip syrup recipe

Cider and rose hip syrup
Press gently through a fine sieve.

Add the same amount of sugar as liquid (this usually works out around 4oz or 100g) but if you want a thinner syrup add less sugar.

Stir in sugar until it dissolves.

Bring to the boil and leave to cook without stirring until syrup forms in around 5 to 10 minutes.

Leave to cool and if you don't use it all, then freeze it. It freezes really well and can be frozen in an ice cube tray for ease of adding to drinks.

If you enjoyed this recipe then please feel free to comment and share it with your friends. 

Hope to see you here again for another recipe from an old farmhouse in Normandie,

All the best,


Rose Hip Syrup Part Two - Drink Recipes

In my previous article on making rose hip syrup I mentioned that I freeze it in ice cubes for making cocktails and other beverages. Here are a couple of recipes I find very refreshing, chock full of phytonutrients and redolent of Summer sunshine in the Winter more

©  Sue Cross 2018

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