Recipes | Wild Rosehip Jelly

There is something mysteriously delightful about the process of gleaning from Creation’s garden and being able to process and store and enjoy the homemade food. It was chokecherries earlier this summer, and now it is rosehip season. IMG_1582Last summer while hiking, we found a huge (secret) area of wild rose brambles, laden with the beautiful red-gold fruits of the rose. By the time we got to them, though, it was quite late in the season and many of the fruits were overripe and dry, so we really didn’t get enough to do anything with them. This year, however, we hit them at their peak! Mom and I spent an hour or two west of Custer picking rosehips, and came home with about 3 quarts of fruit. Harvesting rosehips isn’t as productive as harvesting chokecherries, but it is worth it. This afternoon, I processed the hips and turned them into the most beautiful honey-colored jelly. It is recommended to pick rosehips after the first killing frost for the best sweetness – Custer had it’s first frost back in August, at which point I doubt the hips would even have been ripe. Either way, the jelly is very flavorful. I found the jelly recipe online, since this isn’t an inherited project!
IMG_1588Wild Rosehip Jelly

8 c. rosehips, with stems and ends removed (should yield 3 cups of juice)

1/2 c. lemon juice

1 package pectin

1/4 tsp. butterIMG_1590Juice Extraction: In a large pot, cover rosehips with water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, mashing fruit to a pulp as it softens. Rosehips contain tiny fibers or hairs around the seeds, which can cause irritation to the throat, so these must be strained out. Strain fruit pulp through a cheesecloth-lined collander or a jelly bag, saving the juice and setting the pulp aside. Put pulp in a pot and again add water to cover. Simmer again briefly and strain again. Discard pulp. If necessary, use fruit pulp and water once more to get to the necessary 3 cups of juice. For every 8 cups of rosehips, you should get at least 3 cups of juice – I used 12 cups of fruit, roughly, and easily had enough juice for a double batch. Juice extraction is not a science. There are many methods! IMG_1674Jelly: Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to 3 cups rosehip juice. Stir in 1 package of powdered pectin. Stir well. Let the juice mixture come to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once it boils, stir in the 3 1/2 cups of sugar, stirring constantly. When sugar has dissolved, add 1/4 tsp. butter, to prevent foaming. Bring to a hard boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. IMG_1679Remove from heat. Let sit briefly and skim, keeping the skimmings for a taster. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space, and seal with two-piece canning lids. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. IMG_1681Jelly making is rather captivating – I am planning a trip back west of Custer to pick more rosehips this weekend!

Laura Elizabeth

Chokecherry Moon

It is the moon of chokecherries, for which some of us have been eagerly waiting! All spring, I saw the flowers and made note of where the bushes were, and finally the fruit is ripening, ready to harvest. These small wild cherries make a delicious old-fashioned jelly, which I remember always on hand in my grandmother’s kitchen. She would put it out at nearly every meal.  IMG_8516The chokecherries on the ranch apparently disappeared for awhile, but they have sprung up all along the driveway. Mom was in Rapid City today and visited her uncle, since he called to let her know the chokecherries were ripe at his place, and she came home with pounds and pounds of them. After she got back, a short drive up our driveway yielded another third of a gallon or so of cherries. And many more to ripen, along with a few golden currant bushes I know of on our property! IMG_8515I also know of a great spot for chokecherries along Hwy. 44. But it is a secret.

Laura Elizabeth