My great-aunt harvested rose petals in her own backyard. She boiled them to a mush, then modÂeled, and dried the resulting dough into beads the size of jawbreakers. She lived to be 101, and before she died, she showed me a necklace of these black beads, which she kept in her trunk. As the fragrance of roses reached me, I imagined memories the smell might have aroused.
Her infinite patience would have been needed to pick roseÂhips in the fall. This I learned on my own five acres on GabÂriola Island when I reached high through the thorns to pluck the juiciest hips. My aunt frugally mashed the cooked hips and squeezed the juice through a cloth bag to make her jelly, but I find this isn't necessary. I simply boil up the rosehips and strain off the amber liquid, like extra virgin-olive oil.
There are many recipes for rosehip jelly, jam and purÃ©e, but I like this best for its jewel-like look.
(with pectin supplied by wild apples)
Place 3 cups of hips and 1 cup of quartered wild apples in pot. Cover with water.
Boil until tender.
Drain the juice into a large measuring cup or bowl.
Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 full cups of sugar for each pint of juice.
Boil for two to three minutes, while stirring.
Bottle in clean jars.
Note: If, for some reason, the jelly doesn't set, the juice can be used in stews for an extra boost of vitamin C.
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