What are rose hips? They are the fleshy fruits of the rose that swell into seedpod that is callled a hip.
Rose hips resemble very small crab apples and come on many colors, such as red, orange, yellow, pink and even dark purple, depending on the variety.
Inside the rose hip are seed bearing parts that are called achenes.
Roses require pollination to produce hips, so roses that have blooms with open face flowers that pollinating insects can enter are more likely to produce hips.
If you like to harvest hips to use for tea and in other recipes, let the hips develop.
So instead of deadheading (cutting off) spent blooms from late fall flowers, let the dead blooms go to seed.
That is, let the hips (seed pods) develop fully.
Depending on variety of roses, the hips may stay on the bush well into winter.
They are beautiful to look at and add interest to a winter garden, as well as providing food for birds and other wild life.
The vitamin C rich rose hips are also widely used in cooking.
They are naturally tart like cranberries, and can be made into jellies, pies and even soups, especially in Scandinavian countries.
Even though I live in Los Angeles now, I grew up in Sweden, and it was a fall ritual for my family to pick rose hips from wild rose bushes growing in the countryside.
My mother would make rose hip soups all winter long and it's one of my favorite soups to have.
Rose hip soup (nypon soppa) is even given to babies in their bottles in my home country.
It's so nutrious and the babies love it.
So now you know all about rose hips and what are rose hips used for.