Rose hip foraging in BC and Pacific Northwest
Foraging for rose hips is easy in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. All rose hips are edible (source) and they are easy to positively identify. There are no poisonous lookalikes (source). Rose hips are commonly grown in urban areas and grow wild in rural areas of BC and PNW.
Rose hips are high in vitamin C with 1700-2000 mg per 100 grams dried (source), and may have other beneficial properties. They are a popular foraged and herbal dietary supplement. They’re lovely when drunk as an herbal tea infusion, especially with a little honey to taste. However, some people with preexisting conditions sensitive to vitamin C or rugosin are recommended not to consume rose hips (source).
When foraging for rose hips, I try to collect ones that are unblemished and bright red. Apparently, rose hips are sweeter the longer you let them grow on the plant, so it’s better to harvest them later in the year (source), but I’ve never tested this. I’ve only harvested rose hips in the winter, after peak fall mushroom season is over.
As always, please follow foraging best practices, especially avoiding trespassing on private property. There are lots of opportunities to urban forage a handful of rose hips from a back alley or ditch, or harvest on crown or public land.
I foraged this handful of rose hips after a weekend run. I see rose hips all the time and I had a whim to make some warm tea after a cold winter morning. Because I see rose hips so often, I didn’t preserve any for later. I can easily collect them as needed most of the year. You can dehydrate them after processing if you’d like to preserve rose hips for later.
How to processing rose hips
Follow these steps to process rose hips:
- Wash rose hips.
- Cut rose hips in half. You can remove the pointed ends if you want, but you don’t have to.
- Remove the hairs and seeds from the inside of the rose hip.* I used my fingers for this, but you can use a blunt object, like a butterknife.
- Wash halved and hollowed rose hips to remove any remaining hairs.
- Use fresh for rose hip tea or other uses, like rose hip syrup. Or, dehydrate for future use.
*There is some contention about how non-edible/poisonous/irritating the insides of rose hips are (source). Some people say that you shouldn’t consume the hairs and seeds at all, but some people disagree. I didn’t want to bother with the tiny hairs and seeds or risk any throat irritation, so I just removed them.
How to make rose hip tea
Follow these steps to make rose hip tea:
- Steep cleaned and processed rose hips in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
- To make a concentrated tea that you can dilute to taste, use 1/4 cup rose hips to 1 cup of boiling water. Strain before serving.
- Add hot water to taste and drink plain, or add honey or sweetener to taste. I add 1 tsp of honey per 1 cup of diluted rose hip tea.
I’m not a food safety expert or professional. I referenced the following sources for specific information on rose hip edibility and foraging:
- “Rose Hips (Rosa Canina)” (RX List)
- “Foraging Rose Hips & Wild Rose: Identification, Harvesting, & Uses” by Colleen Codekas (Grow Forage Cook Ferment)
- “Are Rose Hip Seeds Poisonous?” by Robin Harford (www.eatweeds.co.uk)
- “Everything You Need to Know About Rosehips” by Robin Harford (www.eatweeds.co.uk)
This post was originally published on January 24, 2021.