October’s the time to harvest rosehips, the striking ruby red jewels of autumn. Rosehips contain the seeds of the rose plant and can be used to make rosehip syrup. They came from the same family as apples and can be found in the hedgerows. Fresh rosehips contain lots of vitamin C, contributing to optimal functioning of the immune system, as well as supporting many other vital body functions. Rosehips are also reputedly good for relieving pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

Rosehips are an important food source for wildlife, including blackbirds so remember to leave some for them. Here are a few of our rosehip inspired activities.

Recipe for Rosehip Syrup

You’ll need:

  • 1kg fresh rosehips
  • 1kg brown sugar – if you want to keep the red colour, use white sugar instead
  • 2 litres of water
  • Sterile bottle or jar with a screw top or Kilner jar

How to do it:

  1. Give the rosehips a good wash and pull off any stalks
  2. Put them in the food processor – this will speed up the release
  3. Put all the ingredients into a heavy based pan and bring to the boil, leave to infuse for 1 hour
  4. Put back on the heat to boil, mash with a masher to ensure all the goodness is extracted
  5. Turn down the heat, keep stirring and reduce by half
  6. Strain through a sieve with a clean cloth or muslin
  7. Pour into your hot, sterilised jar or bottle and seal

You can keep your rosehip syrup in the fridge for up to 4 months – it makes a pleasant drink diluted with water or take a tablespoon neat each day. You could also try adding some to yoghurt, ice cream or pancakes.

Make a Rosehip Garland

The bendy wood makes it easy to wind into a wreath or garland to bring nature and colour into your home. Experiment with adding other natural materials you find outside, like pine cones and holly leaves.

Thread a Rosehip Necklace

Threading with pretty oval shaped rosehips is a calming activity to do with your child. You will need a sharp needle and thread, so explain to your child that the needle is sharp. Your little woodland fairy or elf will enjoy wearing this as a crown or necklace. It can then be returned to nature to hang in a tree for the birds to enjoy, and the wreath makes a colourful autumnal decoration for your home or garden.

About the Author: Paula Woodman

Paula is a Montessori teacher and Forest School Leader who has run the much loved Woodentots Montessori nurseries in North London for over 30 years. Recently recognised as Montessorian of the Year, Paula’s schools offer a unique and rich mix of Montessori, Steiner and Forest School, with child-led creativity at their core.