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Hints for Using Rose Hips

From teas to preserves, a quick search of the internet will produce a bounty of interesting recipes for rose hips. Before you harvest them for use, follow these simple guidelines:


  • Use only rose hips that come from plants free of pesticides and herbicides.

  • Stop deadheading blossoms in mid to late August so hips can form.

  • Wait until after the first frost before harvesting. The color of the hips will be bright and their texture softer. This will also concentrate the sugars for a sweeter taste.

  • To prepare for recipes, trim off stem and blossom ends and cut hips lengthwise to remove the seeds and small hairs. Wash thoroughly and spread them in a single layer on a tray or drying rack. Dry them in a food dehydrator, in an oven on the lowest setting or in a dark, well-ventilated place.

  • Rose hips used for decorative crafts can be dried whole and kept in a cool, dark place.

  • Leave some hips on the bush for the birds. They provide a great source of winter food and protective cover. For a festive garland birds will love, string a garland with rose hips, popcorn, nuts and dried fruits to hang on a tree near your home.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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September 7, 20070 found this helpful

Thank you, Ellen, for a great tip. I have lots of old, antique rosebushes in my yard and I guess the birds have been eating the hips all along. Given the controversy about most of our vitamin C being made in China, I'll be harvesting my own this fall.

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