(NaturalNews) Rose hips are the small, colorful bulbs that stay behind when a rose dies. They are roughly the same size as berries and vary in color from orange to red. Oftentimes overlooked because gardeners trim the dead flowers before the rose hips can form, rose hips are a great source of Vitamin C and can be harvested and prepared as a natural way to boost intake of this important vitamin.
With a sweet tartness, rose hips are part of the apple and crabapple families. Almost all roses create rose hips, as they are the natural product of a dead flower, but the ones that are said by many to be the best tasting are rugosa roses. In addition to tasting the best, these roses also produce the largest and most numerous hips.
Harvesting rose hips is very straightforward. They should always be removed from the stem of the rose plant after the first frost, when they are the sweetest. At the time of harvest, hips should be firm with a little give in texture and bright red or orange in color. If any of the hips on the plant are shriveled or are not the right color, do not collect them; they will not go to waste, as they will provide a great treat for the birds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer in the area.
Preparing rose hips is also simple; however, make sure that they are prepared as quickly as possible after being harvested, as waiting to do so will compromise a lot of their nutritional value. Once they have been collected from the rose plant they can be used whole, but they have seeds inside of them that have a hairy surface and can cause irritation if eaten. If the rose hips are to be incorporated into anything other than a jam, it is recommended that the insides of the hips are removed before further preparations are conducted. To remove the seeds, trim the ends of the hips and then cut them in half using scissors (the hips will be too small to accurately trim and slice with a knife). Then remove seeds, rinse the hips in cold water, and drain them thoroughly.
After the rose hips have been drained, they should air dry to remove any additional exterior moisture. Once the rose hips are trimmed and ready for use, they can either be prepared fresh or dried. To dry them, lay them out evenly with a lot of space between them. Place them in a dark, dry, and warm location until they shrivel up, much like a raisin. Once dry, rose hips can be refrigerated or frozen. Rose hips are great to use in jellies, sauces, soups, seasonings, or tea. If the recipe in use calls for them to be cooked, do not use aluminum pots, pans, or utensils, as it will deplete the vitamin C levels and alter the color of the rose hips.
Vitamin C is an important part of a balanced diet, and rose hips are a wonderful source of Vitamin C. Anyone looking for a natural, delicious, and easy to prepare source of this important vitamin will benefit from harvesting his/her own rose hips and from the beautiful roses that will grow in the process!
Lenette Nakauchi is a vibration exercise and detox expert who is passionate about demonstrating to others how to get lean and fit in a fun, healthy, sustainable way. Learn more about vibration exercise and how it's used for fitness, therapy, and weight loss at http://www.thenoblerexk1.com. Learn more about her detox and cleansing product at http://www.3daycleanse.com.