OF ALL THE FALL WILD HARVESTS, my favorite might be the rose hips,” says Davenport. “After 20 years gathering hips, I think they’re best in mid-October, after multiple frosts. The frost brings out the sweetness, the flavor, and the fragrance. Rose hip jelly is more than just a spread for toast—it’s a condiment, a side dish, and a relish. There’s almost nothing as easy to make.”
4 quarts rose hips, dried or fresh
3 quarts water
½ cup lemon juice
1 box Pomona’s or other pectin
5 cups sugar or 4 cups honey
- Bring rose hips to boil in 3 quarts of water and let simmer for 20 minutes. Then use a potato masher or similar device to smash the rose hips in the liquid. Let sit uncovered for 20–30 minutes. Strain the rose hips out of the liquid using a very fine mesh strainer or, even better, a piece of unbleached muslin cloth. Squeeze all the goodness out of the hips.
- Bring 4 cups of the strained liquid to a boil. Add lemon juice and pectin according to directions (for Pomona’s, use 4 teaspoons). Add sugar or honey and bring to a full boil for at least a minute. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. You may can the jelly in a hot-water bath, freeze it, or keep it in the fridge for several weeks.