While adventuring along the Skalkaho Road (Route 38) Rose Hip season is in full swing. That means, it’s time to harvest and process all these beautiful end of summer/beginning of autumn fruits. For further reading, I’m going to refer readers over to this article on processing Rose Hips on The Spruce.
Rose hips were one of my grandmother’s favorite foods. My grandmother was the daughter of a feminist, progressive “woman’s doctor” in the Deep South (Alabama). She told me a story once about how the blood and other body fluids from miscarriages and complicated births were used to feed/fertilize her family’s rose bushes while they were cleaning the surgical delivery suite in the family’s basement. Traditionally, especially in the South, human blood and animal blood was used as fertilizer for roses. You can find instructions on using blood meal to fertilize your rose bushes here.
I could go into great detail about the religious and spiritual significance around the use of blood to fertilize rose bushes that would then be used to grow and harvest the eventual resulting rose hips from the flowers. There is something truly beautiful about this cycle of life and connectedness between the earth and this particular food, especially as we enter a season where “the veil thins.”
A word of advice: if you collect wild rose hips soak them in water overnight unless you like extra protein. Use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water. You’ll see the grubbies at the bottom of the container. Pour this out, or strain them out.
I’ll add another update with preparations of rose hips including tea, jam, and cordial soon. I need to go back out and collect more rose hips before I can write about these preparation processes, specifically the cordial.
What seasonal foraging foods do you like hunting for in autumn? Are there any family favorites? Any traditions?
Thank you for reading!