Update to this post (Sept 2016): My experiment did not work! Leaving them whole, as I did, meant that they just sat at the bottom of the sugar. However, my friend made them at the same time and was much more diligent then I was and snipped off both ends of each hip. The sugar was then able to macerate the hip much more effectively. Hers did turn into a syrup. I will be trying to make it again this year with modifications to my method.
Original post: This is an experiment. I have made rosehip syrup before (although I failed to blog about it) by using the boiling method, similar to making a jelly. When I made the crabapple and rosehip jelly , Margaret wisely suggested that boiling rosehips probably defeats the object of the syrup. Rosehips are incredibly high in vitamin C and so a syrup can be very handy to have in the house during the winter months to stave off any nasty lurgies.
My wonderful friend A suggested this tactic for making the syrup. She had been to visit her Cornish uncle and he had bought out his rosehip syrup for her to try and had explained that he made it by layering the rosehips in sugar. We both wanted to give it a go.
It always makes me smile to think about my friendship with A. We have been friends since we were 17 and at college together. Back then our interests were mostly concerned with having fun and partying. Now when we get together, which is as often as we can manage, we mostly find ourselves strolling around the garden and discussing the finer points of growing vegetables and how best to cook them. How times have changed.
Anyway back to the rosehip syrup. This is not a recipe as such. You just pick as many rosehips as will fit into your jar. You give them a good wash and remove the old flower head. Dry the rosehips well. Now you pour a layer of sugar into the bottom of your jar, then a layer of rosehips, then sugar, then rosehips until the jar is full. Your rosehips should be entirely covered in sugar. As a guide I used about 400g rosehips and 450g of sugar to fill my kilner jar.
This is my jar after a week:
This is an experiment. I will report back in due course whether it has been successful. However, as you can see from the photo above it looks promising. I did not pierce the hips at all and the maceration has started. I am hopeful that we will have rosehip syrup for our porridge and to sweeten our mint tea in perhaps six weeks time. Watch this space.
UPDATE 13th October 2015
We are now about 16 days into the syrup making process. About 9 days in (a week ago) I noticed that as the sugar was liquefying the rosehips were becoming exposed at the top of the jar, so I added more sugar, enough to fill up the jar again. The photo below is one I took today. You can see that not all the sugar has liquified yet, but it is getting there. The rosehips are starting to wrinkle too. One of my students at the bread making class last week gave me a great tip – she keeps her damson gin in the car when it needs regular shaking. What a genius idea. This would work equally as well for your rosehip syrup. A plastic container might be more suited to that than a glass one though.