Great masses of Wild Roses grew over the fence on the lane to our house beneath the pines. We had sweet wild berries, old roses, lilies, wild flowers, daffodils, all growing in a colorful riot alongside the rutted dirt lane. The homestead flock of geese would waddle out of the yard and cross over the driveway to pick berries. At least they did until an elf would jump out from behind a rock or some leafs and frighten them, then they would flap, running and hollering back to the safety of the yard.
Flowers freshly picked by a child's hand sat in a canning jar in the center of the old round dinning table. The house scented with the fragrance of blooming sunshine. We picked the berries, ate them fresh, in syrup, pies, cobblers, and dried. What we couldn't eat, we canned for feasting during the winter snows.
We harvested the roses from the wiry rambling brambles to make pale rose jam and jelly, dried the rose hips for use in cough syrups, simples and teas in the cold winter months. Dried the pastel petals for scenting the water that was always kept in the old black cast iron pot on the back of the wood burning cook stove. We've moved on since then. the geese are long gone. The children too. The old plank house is no longer there, the stand of pines has been cut down for lumber, the well was capped and filled in. the barns gone along with the livestock.
The old lane still has mounds of old fashioned roses cascading from the fence to the bar ditch, daffodils, jonquils, lilies, geese, and children still walk the lane in memory.
Early in the morning, before the dew has vanished, take your basket to the rose bushes, and gather the ripe hips. Take only those that are ripe and only enough for that day's use. Be sure to leave some of the ripe hips on the bush. Cut the hips from the stem with sharp shears, or scissors, laying them in the basket carefully, so as not to bruise them. Inspect the hips, and carefully remove any insects before proceeding.
Soak the hips in cool clean water for a short while. Clean them and rinse well to remove all sticks and dirt.
With a sharp knife, cut the hips into pieces, then mash them well. Using a pound of sugar for each pound of rose hips, Place the cut, mashed, pieces of the hips into a crock, bowl, or jar. Cover tightly. You may use a clean tea towel over the crock, or bowl. Place a heavy plate on top of the tea towel to make the hips sweat. Let this stand for an hour or so, until the hips and sugar "sweat" (*)
Add the juice of a small lemon, or orange, to this, and stir all together. Let stand another thirty minutes.
Put the juicy (sweated) hips into a heavy pan, add a small amount of water, and boil until the mixture sheets when dripped from a wooden spoon.
Pour the Rose Hip Jam into jam or jelly jars, and seal.
*sweat = the rose hips and sugar will become moist in the crock, the sugar will coat the fruits, and juice will appear in the bottom of the container.
Here is a recipe for kids. Itís very simple, easy, and delicious, too.
You will need:
Blender or Food Processor (Ask Mom to help you use these)
Shallow Metal Bowl or Pan (The ice will freeze quicker if the container is shallow, and metal gets colder quicker than glass or plastic)
Spoon for stirring
Knife for cutting the Watermelon (Don't forget to ask Mom Before using the knife)
Enough watermelon to make 3 Cups Watermelon Juice when processed as below
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Bottled Lemon Juice
Cut a watermelon meat into small pieces. Put the small pieces into the blender, Place the lid on the blender. Turn the blender on, and blend until the pieces are all turned into juice.
Pour 3 cups of the watermelon juice into a shallow metal pan, or bowl. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir them all well, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Put the juice mixture, still in the metal pan, or bowl, in the freezer. Be careful, the juice is sticky if it's spilled.
Now comes the hard part.
Every 20 to 30 minutes, carefully remove the juice from the freezer, and stir it up really well. Break and mash all the frozen pieces into small pieces. This will make the juice look a little like slush, or oatmeal. Do this until all the juice is completely frozen.
Depending on the temperature of your freezer, It will take about 2 hours for the juice to freeze solid , but it needs to be stirred, and mashed up while it is freezing.
Serve in pretty glasses, or bowls. Very good!