Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting Hip to Rose Jelly

By Guest Writer Terri Clark

One of my best friends likes to quote an old saying every time we are about to indulge in some delectable and impossibly calorie-ridden sweet. While gently wagging her finger she warns, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” While this is acutely true, especially of the older females of the species, there are times when hips are most desirable, and the bigger the better.

Enthusiastic rosarians worldwide who are fortunate in boasting countless bushes in their garden inventory can easily find enough rose hips to craft one of life’s rare culinary pleasures – rose hip jelly! Long a staple of North American First Nations people and early pioneers, rose hips are loaded with vitamin C and when combined with sugar, water and pectin result in a delicately flavoured jelly best reserved for the most special of occasions.

As this recipe calls for fully four quarts of rose hips, you might want to join efforts with several of your other rose-growing friends in order to procure enough of these special fruits. Read on for the recipe and plan now for one of autumn’s exclusive offerings.

4 quarts ripe, unsprayed rose hips, rinsed
2 quarts water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package pectin crystals
5 cups sugar

Simmer rose hips in water until soft. Crush to mash, and strain through a jelly bag. This should make about 4 cups of rose hip juice. Put hip juice into a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the lemon juice and pectin crystals and bring to a hard boil, stirring constantly, skimming off any foam with a metal spoon. Stir sugar in at once. Bring back to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove jelly from heat and skim off any more foam. Pour jelly into hot sterilized canning jars, top with sterilized lids and rings and hot-water process for 10 minutes to safely seal and preserve the jelly (follow instructions in any reputable canning book). Yield: about 5 cups

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