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Posts Tagged ‘rosehip collectors club’

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When I go out to walk the dog the bushes and trees are heavy with fruit and berries.  One of the prettiest sights is the abundance of rose hips this year.  The rich dark red shiny giant sized pips found on the dog rose bush stand out and look like ruby jewels. They are packed full of vitamin C along with an added helping of A, D and E not to mention the antioxidants.

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Rosehip syrup became very popular during rationing in WWII.  The lack of oranges as a source of vitamin C was a problem for England but this was solved by the introduction of rosehip syrup.  A company called Delrosa based in Wallsend near Newcastle produced the syrup and so highly regarded was it that bottles would be given out at baby clinics and parents across the land would administer a spoonful daily in the fight against coughs and colds.  The taste is hard to describe but it is definitely sweet and has a tropical fruity taste with no nasty after taste.

A nationwide campaign began to encourage children to collect the rosehips in return for money and 3d was paid for every 1lb of rosehips.  3d was not a bad payment considering that at the time petrol cost 4d per litre.  So it was not just children who cashed in, many pensioners and low-income households also joined in.  To encourage the children even more, the incentive of the Rosehip Collectors club was started.  Each child was given a card to record their efforts and would qualify for a badge when they had collected a certain amount.  At the end of the season those that had collected four or more badges could then trade them in for a year badge.  There was even a special award the ‘Merit of Award’ badge that was made for those who collected the highest weight.

The rosehips would be delivered to their local collection points which were either schools, local post offices, or private houses.  This was organised by the Women’s Institute.

The above badges can be seen with others at www.badgecollectorscircle.co.uk who have kindly let me use their pictures.

My aunt remembered collecting and making the rosehip syrup whenever we walked past a bush and always referred to it being a filthy job, which she wouldn’t repeat.  Making rosehip syrup is a time consuming task but all the same a satisfying one.  Easy to pick but watch out for the thorns.  It is said that the best time to pick them is after the first frost.  My experience is if you wait that long you will find that the birds have beaten you to it and cleared the lot.

Rosehip Syrup

Ingredients

2 lbs rosehips

2 lbs sugar

4 pints water

Method

Wash the rosehips and then trim the tops and bottoms.   Cut them in half.

Put the 3 pints of water into a large pan and bring to the boil.  Once boiling drop all the rosehips in.

Bring back to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the fruit becomes soft and pulpy.  Set aside to cool.

Strain the liquid and pulp in a jelly bag or a double layer of muslin.

Try to resist the temptation to squeeze the bag as this will make the syrup cloudy.

Once all the liquid has dripped through the jelly bag remove the pulp and replace back into a saucepan adding the remaining 1 pt of water to cover the pulp.

Bring to the boil and set aside.  Repeat the process of straining through the jelly bag adding to the liquid already strained.  This process can be repeated a couple of times more but I prefer to just repeat it once.

Put all the liquid back into a clean saucepan and bring back to the boil adding the sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.   Remove from the heat.

If you feel that the liquid is a little on the weak side before adding the sugar you can boil down the liquid to reduce it.

The rosehip syrup is ready to bottle into sterilised bottles.

To sterilise the bottles

Wash the bottles in soapy water and drain.  Put onto a tray in an oven at Gas mark 3/325F/160C and leave for 10/15 minutes. Carefully take out and use.  The bottles should now sterilised.

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