Well I managed to get out yesterday foraging in the hedgerows, predominantly I came back with two carrier bags of Elderberries and over four pounds of Rosehips - somebody had beat me to it with the blackberries, will have to source another site. We were out for well over an hour and a half. OH walked the dog - I did the foraging - I came back with purple stained hands and a purple splattered hoodie and that was using scissors to cut the elderberries. The rosehips I picked by hand were nice and large - I am hoping to get some more at the weekend. But needless to say I got scratched and had little cuts from the rosehip stems. There are various ways of using the hips, either fresh, processed as below, left whole and dried, left whole and fresh. For years I have known of the method of drying them whole, as this is what my Nan used to do to make Rosehip wine during the winter months when there was little else available to make wine from. (i.e put the hips with a cut in them in a baking tray on low in the oven until dry). Its a good stop gap and it makes a nice wine.
I have had a lot of problems recently with my arthritis and in the end I went to the GP because I had increasing pain problems. A a result for the past three months I have been on steroid medication for the treatment of my arthritis, which I and the Doctors are not happy about. Things seem to be getting worse rather than better. I hadn't realised how much pain I had been putting up with until the GP put me on the steroids and I felt more comfortable. They then tried to reduce the medication right down to 5mg but they have had to increaseit again in recent weeks and I have been referred to the hospital to see a Consultant in the middle of September.My local GP has tried to wean me off them, but my system has been complaining and not responding to tactics.
Needless to say I have been reading extensively again a believe in self-help; in particular I know that rosehips are full of vitamin C, we used to be dosed with "Delrosa" as children (rose hip syrup). One particular article caught my eye - that of using rosehip powder which is full of vitamin C and has anti inflammatory properties has been extensively used in Denmark for coping with osteoarthritis and taken in the form of sprinkling on yogurt or as per this recipe. http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/rose-hip-christmas-sweets/. I have therefore decided to try this out to see if it works for me.
I therefore spent last evening processing the rosehips, extracting the seeds (a very tedious and long drawn out process) . But then again, anything that is worth doing is worth doing well. The reason for this time consuming processing session is basically to remove all the little seeds and hairs from the seeds. They are the base of "itching powder" and so great care has to be taken to remove these as they can cause major problems and irritation to your system. So I think perhaps I am being a tad over zealous, but better safe than sorry.
First of all I topped and tailed the rosehips to get rid of the black fuzz and the green core.
Then the rosehips had to be cut in half to expose the seeds. The recommendation was to use a melon baller to remove the seeds, but I used a small teaspoon to scrape out the contents. I wore latex gloves so that the seeds would not irritate my skin and cause itching.
After scraping out the contents - this just leaves the shells behind
I then placed the shells onto tissue on a tray and it is now currently in the airing cupboard drying out the rosehip shells
I did start and dry them like this for a couple of days but I then popped them into a tray in the lowest setting on my oven for about an hour making sure to turn the hips so that they all got a turn at the heat.
This should form the basis for a couple of items I want to have a go at. The Rosehip shells dried in this format can be used to make rosehip tea or be ground down in a coffee grinder/spice grinder or in a food processor to make rosehip powder. This is what I am interested in using to see whether or not it will actually assist me in keeping the arthritis at bay and making me more comfortable. We are actively encouraged to take vitamin C, and apparently in this format it is a lot stronger than normal vitamin C. And if nothing else, the use of the powder for the Christmas sweet recipe is a good excuse to have a go in itself.
I also intend to get some more Rosehips at the end of the week and also have a go at other goodies for the pantry shelf too.
Next the elderberries!