Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rosehip Foraging

The holy grail of frugal preserving is definitely something you can forage sustainably. For us one of these things is rosehips. Because Rhode Island has something like 400 miles of coastline, and rosehips love being on the coast, we have lots of them. It also helps that not many other people seem to be aware of their usefulness.

Rosehips are a great source of vitamin C and can be used to make tea, syrup and jam. Although we do have a native species of rose its hips are too small to be of much use so we pick from rosa rugosa plants which are actually an invasive alien species (another reason we don’t feel so bad about picking them).

Despite this we’re not sure of the legality of picking them in certain places so at our first stop today we had to be rather stealthy. This entailed climbing on some pretty scary rocky outcroppings to reach hidden bushes. This area (which shall remain unnamed) was too crowded so we only managed to pick 1.5 lbs and that took at least an hour.

On our way home we stopped at a parking area that allows you access to a path that leads (eventually) to the coast. Although we didn’t know for sure there would be any rosehips there we thought it was a pretty good bet and less likely to be crowded.

When we arrived at the beach we were greeted by a line of rosa rugosa plants heavily laden with ripe fruit. We rejoiced and then began filling a plastic bag with ripe ones.

As you know roses are thorny and these are no exception. So jeans, sneakers and gloves are recommended gear for picking. Of course I didn’t have several of those so I suffered in silence. (And by silence I mean that I yelped every few minutes when I’d get a particularly painful prick.)

Our new found site gave us a much bigger yield: we picked another 3.5 lbs bringing us up for a grand total of 5 lbs for the day. Not a bad haul considering the only cost was our time and a little gas money.

Look how big some of these are!

Check back soon to see what we do with all those rosehips!


  1. I had no idea roses produced hips. Like, normal garden type roses never do that. actually though the ones at my house always die before they get a chance to anyway...

  2. maybe your roses are infertile? actually I really have no idea why some get more and some get almost none. my understanding of plant biology is sadly lacking, it was one of my worse subjects.