I strumbled across these gorgeous rosehips the other day. To my excited eye, they looked plump and ready for kitchen action — that is, until I picked them, took them home and made a simple syrup, which turned out to be more the rusty color of coral than the deep ruby that comes from truly ripe rosehips.
Rosehips really hit their stride after the first frost, when their tartness gives way to a citrusy sweetness. Last year, I used them to make a glaze. This year, I've decided to drink them.
As you trim the ends and bad spots from tiny rosehips, you'll encounter an inner core of seeds, much like with a pomegranate, which you can scoop away. Making syrup with what's left is cumbersome, but takes less than an hour. Perhaps wait a few weeks before you pick your crop — and then use them for nefarious purposes, as I did in this as-yet-unnamed cocktail this week (rosehip syrup, SILO Vodka, orange peel, dry vermouth and a maraschino cherry).
Rosehip Simple Syrup
Trim rosehips and add them to a heatproof bowl. If you have patience and dexterity with small objects, slice them in half and remove the seeds. Mash the rosehips slightly with a masher or the end of a rolling pin. Pour over enough boiling water to cover them, then let sit for a half hour. Using a cheesecloth, drain juices into a saucepan, pressing and squeezing as you go. Repeat the process: Pour more boiling water over the remaining rosehip pulp, let sit and drain/squeeze again. This double infusion neutralizes the tiny hairs on the remaining seeds that can irritate your mouth and throat.
Add as much sugar as you have infused water, then heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool, bottle and add the syrup to cocktails, drizzle over ice cream or just gaze at its pretty color.