How to make
Rose Hip Vinegar
This was a fantastic year for harvesting hips from my Rugosa Rose bush. I harvest from it every couple of years and make rose hip infused vinegar that is so amazing my friend Melanie says she could just bathe in it. I'm with her, I probably could too! She also harvested some hips from my rose bush this year.
Not only does this vinegar taste incredible but it's super good for you. Lot's of vitamin C and such. Not a nutritionist....you can check that out for yourself. This is good stuff!
The Rugosa Rose bush is an old fashioned rose that often grows wild. Mine is a bright pink but there are other colors. After the bright red berry-like hips form, I wait for the weather to cool and the hips to become just a bit soft before picking them. In our climate that is late September or early October.
Infusing rose hip vinegar is a simple process but there is a very important step you should take to avoid serious distress from the indigestible hairs and seeds from inside those beautiful red hips.
Have you ever heard of itching powder? This is what it's made from. The insides of rose hips are full of tiny hairs and seeds that are intolerable to humans and indigestible as well. Animals don't seem to mind them and they will eat these delicious rose hips and carry the seeds around to distribute elsewhere when nature calls. This works very well for the continuation of the rugosa species.
Humans who swallow the hairs or seeds can suffer terribly and can have severe reactions that may require medical attention so please, be sure to follow the instructions and filter your finished Rose Hip Vinegar with a paper coffee filter before tasting it.
After harvesting my rose hips I give them a good rinsing in cold water. Then I pull off the stems and the dried sepals from each end of the hip if they are still hanging on.
My rose bush is organic so, of course, nearly every hip will have a small larva inside and I'd rather not have those infusing my vinegar. How about you?
Luckily there are two easy ways to rid the hips of bugs.
One method is to submerge the hips completely for about 10 minutes and most of the bugs will abandon the hips and drown. The hips do have air in them so they float very well. One way to submerge them is by weighting them down with a plate that just fits inside the top of a bowl that you have filled with water and rose hips.
My favorite method is the second. Do nothing....It's very dry in the Oregon high desert where we live so my hips dry pretty darn fast. So fast, that the bugs inside all abandon ship and crawl out onto the drying pan in search of moisture and eventually all dry up. After a week of drying, I can easily pick up the hips and put them in a bowl leaving all of the little critters on the pan. The dried larva look like small grains of rice. I sweep the pans off and return the hips to continue drying. No more bugs! I'm not sure if this method works in more humid climates.
After three weeks in our desert climate my hips are dried thoroughly. They are crispy and hard but not so hard you can't smash one. Be careful if you do and wash your hands immediately.
When they are dried, I add one cup dried hips to one quart of white vinegar in a sterile jar and let it sit in the sunlight for a week or two. After that, it goes into the cupboard to age for at least a couple of weeks. The longest I've left it to age was 2 years and it was magnificent!
You can see from the pictures above that the vinegar starts to take on color from the hips in just a few days. After 2 years, the color is a rich red brown and the vinegar makes the best home made vinaigrette ever!
Three jars recently filled, the one on the left was filled the day before.
Here's an update on my latest batch of Rose Hip Vinegar:
It's been about 6 months since I put together this infusion to age and it's really amazing now. I strained one of the jars carefully through unbleached coffee filters into 2 containers. I use the tall slender one from my counter top and I'll put the other one in a cool dark cupboard to use for refilling it later.
After straining the 6 month old infusion, I added more white distilled vinegar to the rose hips in the jar and I'll let that infuse again. There's a lot more flavor that can be extracted from them!
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How to make
Rose Hip Vinegar
1 cup dried rugosa rose hips
1 quart white vinegar
Place the dried rose hips into a sterilized jar and fill with white vinegar to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Clean the lid and ring well with soapy water. Wipe the mouth of the jar clean and dry, then center the lid and screw on the ring fingertip tight. Let sit in a warm area with sunlight for a week or two then place in a dark cool area to age for 2-3 more weeks or up to 2 years.
The infusion is ready to use after 1 month but best after 2 years.
When ready to use. Strain the rose hips from the vinegar using a paper coffee filter to be sure to remove all traces of any rose hip hairs or other matter. This is extremely important to avoid serious discomfort or health complications from the indigestible and irritating parts from the center of the hips.
Once strained, the rose hip vinegar is ready to use.
Store in a dark cool cupboard in a clean glass bottle or jar.