Rosehip Preserves – Farseer Trilogy

“I found the castle stirring but not yet fully awake. I ate in the kitchen as I had when a child, finding that there, as always, the bread was freshest and the porridge sweetest. Cook exclaimed to see me, one minute commenting on how much I had grown, and the next lamenting how thin and worn I looked. I surmised that before the day was out, I would be heartily sick of these observations. As traffic in the kitchen increased I fled, carrying off a thick slice of bread well buttered and laden with rose-hip preserves.”

Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb

Thoughts:

I burned my tongue making this recipe.

Because I couldn’t stop licking the spoon as the mixture cooked. Seriously.

I know that some fictional recipes are quirky and fun, but not ideal for inclusion in the everyday lineup. However, this jelly is immediately going in my annual routine, and a lot of people I know are getting some for Christmas.

Rosehips are the red-orange seed pod that is left after the rose blossoms on a bush die off. Fresh, they are relatively soft and plump, although if you are lucky enough to find some that have overwintered, they will be further softened by the frosts. They have higher levels of vitamin C than oranges, and keep very well when dried. They also have a lovely, unique flavor.

Before adding the sugar, the rosehip puree has a tart earthy flavor. After the sugar, though, it becomes this slightly sweet, winey, decadent jelly that begs to be spread on fresh, buttered scones. For the photo above, I was eager to partake in the jammy goodness, which is why it’s still a big runny. I imagine this jelly would be wonderful on ice cream, scones, toast, sandwiches, cheesy crackers, pancakes, and anything else you can think of. 

Definite win!

Rosehip-Wine Jelly

Soaking: Overnight       Cooking: up to 1 hour

Makes ~1 cup jelly

Cook’s Notes: I opted for a jelly (rather than preserves) because my rose seeds were so tough; They would have made a terrible addition to a jam or jelly. With fresh rose hips, instead of dried, one would be able to scrape the seeds out much more easily. I’ll try that version as soon as I find some good rose hips!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried rose hips
  • 1 cup red wine (I used a sweet red)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Soak the dried rose hips in the wine and water overnight. The next day, simmer the whole mixture in a saucepan until the hips turn soft. Strain the whole into a clean saucepan, grinding the meat of the rose hips until you’ve got only seeds left in the sieve, and all the pulp and juices are in the new pan. Place a small plate in the freezer. Add the sugar and simmer this mixture until it has thickened/reduced, and is bubbly. If you place a bit on the chilled plate, it should gel. That’s your indication that it is ready to be poured into a jar. 

If you are familiar with canning procedures, you can use then to great effect with this recipe. Otherwise, eat the jelly within a couple of weeks. 

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7 thoughts on “Rosehip Preserves – Farseer Trilogy

    • Wow, good point. I should add that to the writeup. :p They’re the red-orange seed pods that are left after a rose blossom dies. More vitamin C than oranges!

  1. Wow. I didn’t know rose hips can come from any rose. Here in Germany when you talk about rose hips (Hagebutten) you always mean dog roses (which grow where I live quite extensively).

    Thanks for the clarification!

  2. Question, if you’ve a thought on the matter: how problematic is reducing the amount sugar — potentially by as much as half? I know it’ll change the consistency and the flavour, but I’ve never made anything jammy and I’m not sure if it serves another purpose. (My family’s found that most recipes run much too sweet for us, so I’m always cutting sugar in them.) Thanks!
    (Either way, looking forward to trying this one out — it looks delicious, and I’ve some rose hips begging for a project …)

    • You know, I often feel the same way. I actually used far less sugar in this recipe than was called for in any other recipe I consulted. I think this may have had something to do with the more syrupy consistency of the jam, and hope to be able to test this out as soon as my source gets rosehips back in stock. I look forward to hearing how yours turns out!

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