By Patti Spezzaferro
Flowers are more than just a pretty face.
As I continue the endless task of deadheading this month, I notice I see more of the beautiful small, apple-like fruit that forms just below rose flowers after the petals fall off. This fruit is called a rose hip or rosehip and also called rose haw and rose hep. The fruit can be orange, red, dark purple, or even black. It is so stunning and wonderful in a flower arrangement.
Yet for all its beauty, rose hips are more than just an ornamental. They are packed with vitamin C and can be used in cocktails or dried to create a refreshing tea with medicinal benefits. This herbal tea made from the fruits of rose plants has a slightly floral taste with a distinct tartness. There are several hundred species of rose plants, but medical research on rose hips has focused on the fruits of the rugosa rose plant.
Although rosehip tea is made with either dried or fresh rose hips, you may get more antioxidants by using fresh rose hips. Fresh or dried rosehips can be steeped in hot water to make tea. Rose hips can be grown or purchased online from places like Mountain Rose Herb. Trim any remaining blossoms, cut them half lengthwise, remove the tiny hairs and seeds in the center and rinse them. To dry the hips, spread the prepared halves in a single layer on trays and place them in a dehydrator or a very low-temperature oven. Store them in glass jars in a dark, cool place. If you decide to grow your rosa rugosas, you will have the wonderful rose petals to make Rose Petal Ice Cream.
Medical researchers have found that rose hips are rich in antioxidants that protect or reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. Consuming food and beverages rich in antioxidants may protect against chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Rose hips have been shown to have the highest vitamin C content of all the fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C plays many essential roles in the immune system, including stimulating the production of white blood cells, which protect the body against infection and helps maintain the skin’s protective barrier against outside pathogens. For all its medicinal benefits, there is every reason to start drinking rosehip tea right now. As I reach for my wonderful rose hip tea, stay safe, and don’t forget to smell the roses.
In the know:
Here are some of the topics the PRS Board discussed at their September BOD meeting:
* A possible merger with San Mateo Rose Society
* New logo for PRS
* Offering our members the option to pay and donate online
* Offer four social luncheons each year
* Lift term limits on the President and Vice President roles
* All future BOD meetings will be via zoom until further notice