Rose petals are edible, and can be used fresh to makes jam, tea, crystallised for cake decorations or baked into cakes and cookies.
Rose hips are the flask shaped fruits of the rose, and all rosehips are edible, though the hips of the dog rose have the best flavour. They contain 30 times more vitamin C than oranges, as well as vitamins A, E, B-1, B-2, K, P, niacin, calcium, phosphorous and iron. During World War II hundreds of tons of rosehips were collected from the wild each year in Britain and made into Rosehip Syrup to prevent scurvy.
Rose hips make a pleasant tea and can be used in making jams, jellies, syrups, soups and wine. They can be cooked, dried, or frozen. In any rosehip recipes, the irritant hairs must be strained out which can be highly irritating to your digestive tract. Rosewater can be used to make sophisticated cocktails and add a few red rose petals for decoration.
Rose Petal Vinegar
Rose petals (red or pink fragrant type)
White vinegar or cider vinegar
Fill a glass jar with the rose petals. Cover with the vinegar and leave on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks until the vinegar has turned a good red. Strain through several layers of muslin to remove the irritant hairs, into a clean dark bottle and seal. Use in salad dressings. When you have a headache, pour some of the vinegar into a bowl and soak a clean flannel in it, wring out and apply to the forehead. Repeat as necessary. (You can also chill the bowl of vinegar in the fridge which will help if your headaches are relieved by cold.)
White vinegar or cider vinegar
Slit the hips. Put them in a jar and cover them with vinegar. Sit the jar on a sunny windowsill for 30 days, shaking daily. Mix with water and take for sore throats, gargle with it then swallow the mixture. For colds, take 1 tbsp in a mug of hot water. Use in salad dressings.
Rose Petal Wine
2.2 litres/ 4 pints rose petals
4.5 litres/ 1-gallon boiling water
900 gm 2 lb. sugar
Pour the boiling water over the rose petals and allow to infuse until the water becomes scented. Strain and dissolve the sugar into the liquid. Transfer to a demijohn and add the yeast. The longer this wine is kept the stronger the rose perfume becomes.
Rose Petal Jam
100 gm/ 4 oz. rose petals
680 gm 1 ½ lb. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
150 ml/ 5 fl. oz. rose water
150 ml/ 5 fl. oz. water
Put the rose petals in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, put the sugar, lemon juice, water and rose water in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes and then pour over the rose petals. Stand overnight. Put the mixture into a pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes until it thickens.
Rose Petal Tea
Fresh petals of 1 large fragrant rose, or 2 tsp dried rose petals
250 ml boiling water
Infuse, covered for 5-10 minutes. Strain and drink.
25 gm/1 oz. fresh rosehips
280 ml/ ½ pt. water
Cut the rosehips open and put them in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow the rosehips to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve to remove the irritant hairs. Add honey, agave syrup or a dash of lemon as desired.
Rose Petal Syrup
Place roses in a jar and fill the jar with water. Cork the top and infuse for 8 hours. Pour everything into a large pan and heat the water to boiling point. Filter off the liquid, squeezing the flowers. Return it to the jar and add more flowers and repeat the operation. To every half litre (1 pt.) of the infusion, add 900 gm (2 lb.) sugar and boil for 20 minutes. Pour into sterilised bottles.
900 gm/ 2 lb hips
450 gm/ 1 lb sugar
Pick red hips and mince in a food processor. Put them straight into 3 pints of boiling water. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and allow the pan to stand for 15 minutes. Strain though very fine muslin (reserve the liquid) and return the hips to the pan with a fresh 1 ½ pints of water. Boil, then stand for 10 minutes and strain. Reserve the liquid and combine it with the first batch of retained liquid and boil until the liquid is reduced to around 1 ½ pints. Add 1 lb sugar, stir until dissolved. Boil 5 minutes. Strain into bottles and seal immediately.
Rosehip Fruit Cheese
1 kilo/ 2 ½ lb apples
60 gm/ 2 oz rosehips
Juice of 4 oranges
140 ml/ ¼ pint water
900 gm/ 2 lb sugar
Wash the apples, and chop, without removing the skin and cores. Slice the hips and put them in a muslin bag. Put the apples, hip bag and orange juice in a pan with the water. Cook over a low heat until the apples are soft and pulpy. Remove the bag with the hips and discard them. Press the apples through a sieve and measure the resulting puree. For each 450 gm/ 1 lb add 450 gm/ 1 lb of sugar. Put the sugar and pulp in a pan over a medium heat and cook until the mixture becomes very thick (this will take about 60 minutes), stirring frequently to prevent burning. Spoon this into jars. Serve with bread, hot bettered toast, scones, cheese or meat dishes.
Gather hips and cut them in half. Put them in a pan and cover them with water. Simmer until soft, which will take about an hour. Strain the pulp through muslin and collect the juice. Measure it and for each pint of juice, add one pound of sugar and the juice of one lemon. Return to the pan and simmer until the setting point is reached. Spoon into jars.
© Anna Franklin, from the forthcoming Hearth Witch’s Garden Herbal, Llewellyn, 2023
 The wild rose is called a dog rose (Rosa canina), possibly from the belief that it cured the bite of rabid dogs, a belied mentioned by Pliny the Elder. Other possibilities are that ‘dog’ is a corruption of ‘dagger’ referring to the plant’s jagged-edged leaves, or that ‘dog’ is used in a derogatory sense, because the flowers are not as showy as cultivated varieties.