Written by Rupert Waites. Co-founder and chief forager at the Buck & Birch
When I was a lad, a big moment in my own foraging adventure started with the picking of rosehips. We called these bright red fruits of the dog rose ‘Itchy-coos’ as kids and used them to prank each other and as ammunition in games of armies.
Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
ITCHY-COO, n. Anything causing a tickling, specif. the prickly seeds of the dog-rose or the like put by children down one another's backs.
When I was about ten my mother sent my friends and I to pick these oval fruits or ‘hips’ in the field next to the house and in return she made us syrup. I remember the dripping jelly bag and the boiling and the waiting and the assortment of jars on the kitchen windowsill.
As is the way with young boys we were impatient to try this rich chestnut coloured nectar but man, it was worth every scratch and every second of the wait. I remember being as shocked as i was delighted by its exotic taste and it proved much more conducive to friend retention than using them as torture devices. I can honestly cite that experience as a big reason I'm doing what I do today.
Revolutionary though that experience was, it wasn’t till years later that I sought out a recipe and tried making it myself. I first served it with venison on the specials board where I worked and in time I made wine, tea, sweet dessert soup, jelly, jam, marmalade, vinegar and used the hollowed husks as pickles and candies in our pop up wild food experiences.
As the nights draw in and the frost starts to threaten, pack a flask, some stout gloves and go and fill a basket for yourselves and get experimenting. Packed full of goodness and flavour, rosehips are easy to identify, easy to find and very easy to enjoy.
So get up and away from the telly or ‘device’, join us in the age old tradition and get a little of something good in for the winter months. Its the perfect way to start your own wild food adventure. Who knows where it will lead.
Looking for a taste of rosehip straight away? Head to our web shop and grab yourselves a bottle of our Amarosa rosehip rum liqueur. A beautiful digestif marrying sweet rosehip, dark rum and wild herbs, perfect as the nights start drawing in. Slàinte!