Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Foraging in my own garden: rosehip syrup and more

This 'summer weather' is, not to put too fine a point on it, crap. It's August, I don't need to turn the Aga off, the sky is grey as is my 'tan' and I need an umbrella to venture out of the house. But! We may grumble but le jardin anglais is famous throughout the world and much of it is thanks to our mild and damp weather. Equally,  for the same reason, British women are renowned for their dewy youthful skin. Other women may be more polished (American), have better accessories (Italian) and thinner (French) but their complexions after une certain age (about 30) leave something to be desired.
Throughout this year my garden has been a useful addition to my larder: wild strawberries for icecream, mustard flowers to decorate my Maille mustard meal, elderflowers for syrup and fritters, vine leaves to wrap salmon and halloumi, nettles for pesto on steaming freshly puffed flat breads and daylilies steamed and tempura-ed for ultra menu wow factor!
The corn on the cobs are bulging in their buttery skeins of silk and apricot-hued flowers from the runner beans will adorn my salads, their taste a lingering but subtle reminder of their fruit.
Last week I picked rosehips to make syrup, a daily spoonful to ward off colds a cherished memory from my childhood. The buds are the 'hips' of the roses, bursting pear-like and alluring beneath the fragrant flowers.
Nasturtiums, mustard flowers and daylilies

Rosehip syrup

250g of rose hips
250g of sugar
750ml of water

First top and tail the rose hips then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop up the rosehips finely. Place in the water and bring to the boil then remove from the heat and leave for a couple of hours.
Then add the sugar and simmer until it becomes a thick syrup. Strain through a chinois or sieve.
Put it in a thoroughly cleansed jar and seal.
 Rosehip Syrup: spoon onto icecream, use in prosecco, mix into jam, drizzle over cereal or porridge. It's a natural vitamin C fix!
 British runner bean edible flowers....fantastic on salads, as a garnish
 I chose a special variety of courgettes that had more flowers than usual
 Elderflower cordial from June...
Franchi seeds tomatoes, stuttering in the rain
Wild strawberries, frais des bois, winking red beneath the greenery. Recipe for the icecream in my book.
Gorgeous dusty pink hydrangeas from my garden, a single bloom in a glass cheers up a table
 Or a host of them on a breakfast table

The Secret Garden Club: autumn and winter gardening lessons with food and drink by MsMarmitelover is starting again soon. Keep checking for dates. It's a great present too for the novice gardener.


  1. That's all you need for rose-hip syrup?! I better get foraging as soon as the weather clears! xx

  2. super-dooper post! thanks for the rosehip recipe...I am just about to gather mine this year...a bit further north than you I think...today I picked all of the elderberries in the back field and they are waiting for me to make some glorious cordial later. Also the sloes from Cornwall are in the freezer waiting for their skins to pop and join with some yummy gin and sugar...oh the glories of the land...hip..hipp.......hooray!

  3. What a lovely post with beautiful photos, I almost felt I was there. Time to get picking those Rose hips. My Granny used to make syrup and I had forgotten all about it until now, thank you. GG

  4. Hip hip hooray indeed. In fact that would have been a better title for the post!

  5. Lovely idea! Does picking the rosehips have any effect on how well the rose will flower next year? I guess not, but I'm a bit of a gardening novice and wouldn't want to damage my (beautifully flowering all on it's own) rose bush!

  6. Glad you did a piece on rosehips - I've been wanting to try them out for a while and wasn't sure what the process was! Such a nice post! I've missed you being so busy! xxx

  7. Awesome garden. You have all the elements of a complete and beautiful garden. Fruits, veggies and flowers for everyday consumption.

  8. Thank you for the recipe! I also have a rosehip tree and didn't know you can do something with them!


I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)