How To Use Rosehips - The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

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When the vitamin C content of rosehips is higher than even oranges, you can see why this plant has become a sensation. The more you learn the more you see why everyone wants to learn how to use rosehips. 

🌿 Related: Learn more about the health benefits of rosehip here.

They help support your immune response to ills and chills, and skin irritations. They also help support your nervous system, as you need vitamin C to produce your stress hormones. Rosehips are often recommended as a nutritive, which means it helps to boost our diet with extra minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

🌿 Related7 Easy Ways To Naturally Boost Your Immune System

You’ll probably have seen that rosehips have also become very popular in a beauty sense as the vitamin C content helps support collagen production and can also help with joint inflammation.

We love this powerhouse plant and its incredible health benefits are why we use it in our Daily Boost. Since autumn is rosehip season, you might want some ideas on how to use rosehips. This blog is a comprehensive guide to finding, identifying, harvesting and using rosehip.

🌿 Related: Autumn Foraging - 6 Wild Foods You Can Find This Season


The rosehip obsession has a historical origin

Despite their recent popularity, the health benefits of rosehips have been known for years. During the second world war, people were finding it hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables. In response, a Kew botanist in the UK worked with the government to develop a rosehip syrup to supply vitamin C to the nation. 

People of this generation remember collecting rosehips for syrups to help support their diet and keep their immune system healthy, as we do not store vitamin C and need to replenish it daily. Giving children rosehip syrup continued well into the 1960s - a great way of using an abundance of nature to support health.

What rosehips can you eat?

Rosehips are the fruit of the rose known as hips. Every rose flower that is not picked will turn into the berry looking ‘hip’after the flower disappears. All varities of roses produce a hip that can be used. Roses as plants are universally associated with love; the flower, the scent and the medicine all have an ability to lift our spirits. Once the petals have dropped the hip is left and it continues to nourish and support through its nutritive qualities.

The best thing about roses are that all varieties of roses (Rosa species) produce hips and all of them are edible and medicinal! 

There is a warning though - rosehips do have tiny hairs inside. These hairs can cause irritatation to mucous membranes like your mouth and intestines when you eat them.  If you are planning on making a tea with the hips you can leave them whole which then avoids the hairs but if you are wanting to make a syrup, jelly or eat the hips you will need to remove the seeds and hairs from inside.

How to identify rosehips

Rosehips vary in colour; they can be red or orange, and the colour does deepen closer to harvest time. They are about the size of a grape, round or oblong in shape and firm to the touch. The hips emerge in autumn after the flowers have stopped blooming.

Both the Rosa rugose, which has larger tomato-shaped hips, and the Rosa rubiginosa (sweet briar rose) have medicinal uses, but the most common plant used is Rosa canina (dog rose) which is used more extensively. In fact, the dog rose’s got its name from its ability to heal dog bites in Roman times!

How to harvest rosehips

If you are setting out to harvest some rosehips - you must come prepared! You need gloves, gardening secateurs and long sleeves. Roses have thorns which are not fun to be attacked by, and rosehips have tiny hairs on the stem that can be irritating. 


When is the best time to pick rosehips

The best time to pick rosehips is in autumn after the season's first frost. Once the hips have changed colour to a deeper red, then you can start foraging and collecting. You should wait until after the first frost because, as with vegetables, the extreme cold damages and stresses the plant, making the sugars in the fruit more concentrated - so you get a sweeter hip.

When choosing which hips to harvest, ensure the fruit is firm, not squishy or wrinkled. The best approach is to cut the stem just above the hip (making sure to wear your gloves to stop you from getting pricked by the thorns).

Seed removal and storage

Before you learn how to use rosehips, you need to know how to properly prepare them. After harvesting your rosehips, wash them and trim both ends off with a sharp knife. Cut them in half and scrape out the seeds and hair using a butter knife or small spoon. Rinse the halved hips and lay them on a dry tea towel to remove excess water.

To store rosehips, it's best to dry them thoroughly using a dehydrator, low temperature oven, or air dry method. When drying, spread them out flat and away from each other to ensure air circulation. If air drying, store them in a dry location to prevent mold growth and check them often to ensure thorough drying.

If using an oven, place the rosehips in a single layer on a lined baking tray and dry at the lowest temperature for several hours until they feel light and brittle. In a dehydrator, place them in a single layer and set it to the lowest temperature. Move the layers around to ensure proper dehydration. Once fully dry, store the rosehips in a labeled jar with a tight lid.

How to use rosehips

Now that you've harvested and prepared them - you'll want to know how to use your rosehips. Here are 11 different ways you can use your hips.

1. Add rosehips to herbal tea

One simple way to use your dried rosehips is in a tea. Rosehips are a great way of adding in antioxidants and vitamin C to your diet. This is especially important in the cooler months when fresh produce is less available. 
Dried rosehips give any tea a lovely pink hue and also add a sweet yet tart taste. Rosehip pairs well with lemon balm, holy basil or passionflower for a nourishing nervous system tea. Or for more of a nutritive supportive tea you could add nettle, rosehip and peppermint.


2. Make a rosehip decoction

If you want a more concentrated rosehip blend, you could decoct fresh rosehips. Decoctions are great for sturdier plants like berries, barks or roots. It concentrates the plant into a stronger water extraction (as opposed to tea). A rosehip decoction is great for immune support or when you have been unwell and need a boost.

Place three teaspoons of sliced, clean and fresh rosehips (you could use dried if that's all you have) into a saucepan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Leave to cool with a lid on. You can add honey, maple or a simple sugar syrup to taste if you want.

3. Make a rosehip powder

Knowing how to use rosehips as a powder is an easy way to incorporate them into your everyday. By making a rosehip powder, you can add them to cereals, baking or smoothies in seconds. In a spice grinder or high-powered blender, add 500g of dried rosehips and process them until they are a powder. You may need to do this in batches. Add the powder to a sterilised labelled jar and use it throughout the year to boost your meals.

4. Try making rosehip jam

If you're wondering how to use rosehips, one popular way is to make them into jams, which pair nicely with other autumnal berries like hawthorn or blackberries. This jam is full of antioxidants and easy to make! The BBC has a great recipe that you can find here. We suggest you halve the amount to start and see if you like the jam first, as 2kg of rosehips is a lot to forage!

5. Rosehip jelly

If you're looking for more ideas on how to preserve rosehips, consider making some delicious jellies! They're versatile and can be added to roast meals or enjoyed on hot buttered toast. For a tasty twist, you can try this great BBC recipe which includes crabapples that are easy to forage in the autumn. Check it out here.

6. Opt for a sweet rosehip syrup

Syrups are a tasty way to use rosehips, as their natural sweetness makes them delicious and versatile. Add your syrup to sparkling or plain water for a refreshing drink, or it to cocktails or smoothies. You can even super boost your yoghurt or ice cream by pouring it on top! There are so many options for how to use a rosehips in a syrup.

  • 1 litre of water
  • 500gm of fresh and washed berries
  • 250gm soft brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Chop or process your rosehips and add them to the boiling water. 
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes then let it cool.
  4. Pour the contents through a filter or a muslin bag to strain the rosehip from the syrup.
  5. Add the sugar and heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Decant into sterilised bottles that are labelled. This should keep for 3 months.

7. Rosehip oxymel

The name oxymel is derived from latin and means acid and honey. It is an old way of making herbal medicine withvinegar and honey. So if you want to know how to use rosehips in a more traditional sense - try this recipe.
  • 2 cups of rosehips (processed or roughly chopped)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey
  1. Add rosehips to a large jar - it should be a 1/4 full.
  2. Lightly heat the honey to make it liquid.
  3. Add equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and honey until the jar is full
  4. Tightly add the lid to the jar, label it and shake it thoroughly. 
  5. Place it somewhere you can see it and shake it daily for 2 weeks. 
  6. After 2 weeks strain out the rosehips and pour oxymel into another sterilised and labelled jar. 
  7. You can take a tablespoon of this oxymel every few hours if you fall sick or add it to warm water as a nourishing drink. This will store for 3 months.

 8. Rosehip shrub

A shurb is a drink that’s made with vinegar, sweetener and seasonal fruit. If you want to know how to use rosehips in a shrub, use the recipe below.
  • 2 cups of fresh, clean and roughly chopped rosehips
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups honey 
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar.
  1. Boil the rosehips and water together for 10 minutes, lower to a simmer and leave simmering for 15 minutes. 
  2. Add the honey and simmer until dissolved.
  3. Strain the rosehips out.
  4. Add the liquid back to the pan with the apple cider vinegar and heat gently for 10 minutes.
  5. Bottle into sterilised and labelled bottles.
  6. Add this to sparkling water for a refreshing drink. 

9. Make your own rosehip oil

If you want to know how to use rosehips topically then learning how to make a rosehip oil will be a perfect place to start. Rosehip oil is very nourishing and has become popular with supporting irritated, dry, damaged or scarred skin. 

  • 1 cups of dried rosehips
  • 1.5 cup of a carrier oil like almond, coconut, sunflower oil
  1. Add your rosehips and oil into a double boiler.
  2. Gently simmer the double boiler to heat the rosehips and oil. 
  3. Leave simmering for about 1 hour (do not leave it unattended). 
  4. You could also do this in your slow cooker on low overnight.
  5. Leave to cool, then pour into a sterilised and labelled bottle. 
  6. You can add essential oils at this time if you had wanted, lavender is a calming oil that can help the skin or calendula to help with skin healing.


10. Rosehip balm

Once you have your own rosehip oil, try using it to make a rosehip balm. A rosehip balm can be used as a lip balm, for example, or for extra skin protection.
  • Add 100ml of infused rosehip oil 
  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax
  • 1 tablespoon cacao butter
  • Essential oil (optional)
  1. In a double boiler add the oil, beeswax and cacao butter.
  2. Once the beeswax and the cacao butter have melted pour into balm containers.
  3. You can add essential oils at this stage if you wanted
  4. Tea tree to help protect the skin
  5. Calendula to help with skin irritation
  6. Lavender to help with healing and also sleep

11. Use rosehips to boost your winter foods

Rosehips are a great addition to winter soups or broths. They taste delicious in a spicy lentil or tomato soup, as well as vegetable soups. You can add them into your bone broths and use that broth as the base for cooking pasta or rice through the winter months then you need the extra support.


As you can see, rosehips are incredibly versatile and there are so many different ways you can use them. If you make any of the recipes in this blog, be sure to let us know in the comments. We'd love to see how you use your rosehips.

1 comment

  • Posted on by M. Fern Sheppard
    Have wonderful memories of Rosehip jelly and broadleaf peppermint jelly mother made.

    Have tried unsuccessfully for years to get the plants.
    I do patio container gardening – lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries and other.
    Sure would like to have the rosehip and peppermint added. Tops such as onion, beets, and so on are almost year-round as I use my south window sill for that and herbs. The right big rosehips and broad peppermint is all i still need.

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