December 28, 2014


Ein Männlein steht im Walde ganz still und stumm,
Es hat von lauter Purpur ein Mäntlein um.
Sagt, wer mag das Männlein sein,
Das da steht im Wald allein
Mit dem purpurroten Mäntelein.
Das Männlein steht im Walde auf einem Bein
Und hat auf seinem Haupte schwarz Käpplein klein,
Sagt, wer mag das Männlein sein,
Das da steht im Wald allein
Mit dem kleinen schwarzen Käppelein?
Das Männlein dort auf einem Bein
Mit seinem roten Mäntelein
Und seinem schwarzen Käppelein
Kann nur die Hagebutte sein.
August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben

Meet the most potent Vitamin C bomb there is. After the classic wild rose wilts the rose hip develops from the base of the flower. The hips are bright red [sometimes a bright orange] in color, 1.5-2 cm long and cover a large number of seeds – covered with tiny hair. The rose hips can be eaten raw – but the seeds and hair will have to be removed. They have a sour-sweet, very fruity, refreshing and unique taste.

In Austria the dog rose goes by many different names – Hägen,  Rosenäpfel, Hetschhiven, Hetscherl, Hiven, Hagen Rose, Schlafdorn, Butterfässlein, Dornapfel, Hainbutte, Heinzerlein, Hundsrose, Butterfäßlein or Rosenbeere. My family calls them ‘Hetschepetsche’. But the name I love the most ist ‘Arschkratzer’ – meaning ‘scratch your butt’. Very fitting name – since the small hairs surrounding the seeds make for a great itching powder!

The german name ‘Hagebutte’ comes from ‘Hag’ [hedge] and ‘Butte’ [thickening] – thickening in the hedge.




Rose hips are starting to get ripe in early October and can sometimes be found until the end of February. The later they are picked – the sweeter they will be.



There is not much to say about shopping here – because I really wouldn’t know where to buy fresh rose hips. Not even our biggest farmers market offers that. So you will have to go outside and find them yourself. [take some thick gloves and clothes you don’t mind ripping – the thorns are a real hand full]

If you are collecting for tea – pick the most beautiful and healthy looking ones after the first frost [in December/ January/ February]. For jams you will want to use the bigger, richer fruits in late autumn. The longer they are on the shrub – the sweeter they will get. In any case the hip should be something between firm and really hard – not mushy soft.

Collected rose hips will store okay in an air tight container for one or two days. But then you should either use them or prepare them to dry. Dried and stored in an air tight container they will be good for years.



For tea use only the fruits of the wild rose. You may use fresh hips or dry them. Either way you will need to cook the tea for a while [10-15 minutes] to extract the flavor [easier if you grind the hips a little first]. The tea will have a yellowish-orange color. Store bough teas are usually bright red since they use hibiscus as an additive.

If you dry the hips – remove the fly – scrape out the seeds [rinse to remove all the hair] – dry in a warm and dry spot. I prefer to leave them in the attic for a few days – but you can also carefully dry them in the oven [at about 40°C]. Note that if you want to store them they need to be really dried through.

For jams and jellies you might even use ornamental shrub roses. Rose hips naturally contain pectin – you all you will need is some sugar to preserve your jams.

The flesh may also be used in fruit creams or to make liqueur. Use in apple sauce, soups, stews, syrups, puddings, tarts, breads, and pie.


Rose flower leaves make for a great jelly as well [here you will need some additional pectin].



Don’t throw out the seeds. They can be used to make ‘Kernlestee’ – seed tea. To do so – place 1 tablespoon dried seeds [without hairs] into 250ml cold water over night. Next morning bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes – until your tea gets deep red in color [seeds will turn color as well – from whitish to a dark redish-brown]. The tea is considered a home remedy for blood purification, drainage, as well as kidney and bladder problems. It has a light, pleasant vanilla flavor.

As a very special treat – you can wash [to remove the hairs], dry, grind and mix them with sugar to get a great vanilla supplement.

If you are lucky you will even be able so find some rose hip seed oil! [used as skincare or perfume]



hounds rose hip jelly
rose hip + pear cream
wild rose seed tea
wild rose seed sugar



These little fruits provide us with everything we need to increase our defenses in winter. They have a high content of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. These are mainly Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B2, E, K, P and H, Provitamin A – the minerals iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and sulfur – also fructose and fruit acids, pectin, essential oil and tannins.

Just to give you an idea how much Vitamin C they actually have: 100g fruit have 1250mg Vitamin C – lemons have only 53mg – apples have 12mg!

Thanks to the pectin and fruit acidity rose hips work as a mild laxative and diuretic. Rose hips stimulate circulation, help maintain a healthy digestion, reduce inflammation and help prevent heart disease. They prevent bladder infections, ease headaches and dizziness, heal tissues and cells. And last but not least have a calming effect, prevent stress and act as anti-depressant.

Dog rose hip tea is used for the immune enhancement – for fever and flu, coughs, colds, frontal sinus infections and as a thirst quencher. In herbal lore, the rose is good for the skin – it also heals the skin, muscles and bones. In Chinese medicine, rose hip was used for kidney and urinary problems, while traditional Indian medicine uses it as a mental tonic. It is good for hormone regulation, skin hydration and circulation, and acts as a cleanser, astringent, antispasmodic and antiseptic.

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