Last week, on one of the nice days when I was feeling good, I went and harvested more rose hips. This was only the second time I’d harvested rose hips for tea. The two harvests were about a month apart.
Here’s a link to the first post on harvesting rose hips:
What I learned:
I think the first time we harvested we were a bit early. The hips may or may not have been ripe. The second time, the hips weren’t soft, but they weren’t rock solid either. A little more squishy without being wrinkly.
The first time, I had carefully snipped off both ends from each hip as I picked them, both the stem end as well as the leftover dried bits of flower on the bottom. This time, because I was in a hurry, I only snipped the hip from the stem, though I still tried to take off as much of the stem as possible.
This turned out to be a much better plan when it came to processing, which I’ll get into later.
The hips were darker in color this time, another indication, I think, that they were more ripe. But I still found a huge variation in color, from orange to cherry red to a ripe plum color.
I filled a gallon plastic ziplock back three-quarters full. I’m noting this so that I’ll know how much tea I get from that many hips.
The first time, when I’d dried the hips, they took *much* longer to dry than what the internets proclaimed they would. I’m wondering if that is another indicator that the hips weren’t as ripe as they should have been.
Because I hadn’t snipped the dried flower ends off the hips as I picked them this time, I had to do that before I dried them. This turned out to be good, as I also then cut into the side of each hip. I didn’t cut them in half, but I did cut from the outside to the center on all of them. I figured that would help them dry faster.
And they did. They dried much faster this time, even though I had a lot more hips.
The recipe I’d originally followed had said to not leave the hips for too long in the food processor, because you don’t want the hip pieces falling through the sieve. Well, because I use a wire mesh sieve, I’d have to seriously pulverize the hips in order for them to fall through it.
So this time, I left the hips in the food processor for a lot longer. This left me with fewer solid pieces that I needed to break up by hand.
The food processor breaks apart the little round hips into small, hard pieces, and also separates out the seeds. Because I hadn’t dried the hips as long, some of the larger hips didn’t break apart into hard pieces, but were more like a fruit leather, and stretchy.
One of the weirder things that happened with this batch: the irritating hairs clumped together. I was able to just pick out large chunks of fuzz before I switched over to sifting them. It was kind of awesome.
I did all the final processing of the hips after they dried outside, thinking that maybe I wouldn’t get myself covered in the irritating hairs. Yeah, nice idea. Didn’t happen. Still ended up having to strip into the washing machine, then take a shower and soap my arms twice to get those hairs off. Ugh.
However, I have really nice rose hips for tea now. I’m figuring that this batch will last me into next year, but come summer I’ll probably have to start buying rose hips.
Oh – and there’s no difference in the taste between the two batches. They both have a slightly sweet, slightly tomato-y taste.
I know that the interwebs and my books on herbs say to wait until the first frost before you harvest for a sweeter tea. As rose hips don’t make a bitter tea, I’m not sure what sweeter would gain you.
And those are my notes on harvesting rose hips a second time! Feel free to ask questions if you have any. I don’t really have any pictures, as the first post really covered everything and what it all looked like.
Happy Monday to everyone!