rose hip jelly

Rose hips, the orange-red fruit of beach roses (Rosa rugosa) may be foraged at the end of summer when the fruit gives slightly when squeezed. Rosa canina (dog rose) and Rosa majalis (cinnamon rose) are also good sources for rose hips. Any variety works for this recipe, just be sure you pick them on public property and in areas free from pesticides.

5 cups rose hips, stems and flower ends trimmed, fruits well-cleaned
4 cups water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2-3 large lemons) 
3 cups sugar

  1. In a large stainless steel stockpot, add rose hips and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft. Remove from heat and allow mixture to stand at room temperature, covered, overnight.
  2. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (or a colander lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth) placed over a large, non-reactive bowl. Working in batches, use back of a non-reactive (stainless steel or silicone) spoon to press pulp and juices through strainer. Using a different spoon (to avoid transferring seeds), scrape bottom of strainer occasionally to remove pulp. 
  3. Discard seeds remaining in colander as needed before moving on to press next batch of fruit. 
  4. Once all of fruit has been pressed, there will be approximately 3 cups of pulp. If shy of 3 cups, add enough water to reach 3 cups (pulp may be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days).
  5. Prepare canning jars. Wash jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water, and check jars for damage. Discard any damaged jars. Place jars in a large pot filled with enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring water to a simmer, then keep jars warm in the simmering water until ready to fill.
  6. Prepare water bath canner (or a large stockpot with removable rack). Remove canning rack from pot, and fill at least halfway with water to ensure that jars will be covered with 1 inch of water during processing. Bring water to a simmer and cover while preparing jelly.
  7. Place pulp in a large non-reactive (stainless steel) saucepan or stockpot. Add lemon juice and sugar and using a wooden spoon, stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir continuously and skim foam off top until a candy or oil thermometer registers 220°F, 15-20 minutes.
  8. Place funnel in one prepared jar and carefully ladle in jelly, leaving ¼-inch headspace between top of jar and jelly. Repeat with remaining jars. Wipe any jelly off of rim of jars with a damp cloth before attaching lid and ring. 
  9. Using canning tongs, carefully lower jars into water bath onto canning rack, being certain that there is at least 1 inch of water covering jars. Process until sealed, approximately 10 minutes at a rolling boil. Allow jars to stand in water bath for at least 5 minutes before removing them. Cool jars on a rack until they reach room temperature, approximately 12 hours. 
  10. Test jars to ensure that they have sealed by pressing down on center of lid. A sealed lid will not flex.
  11. Sealed (and unopened) jelly will keep for 1 year. Any jars that fail to form a seal may be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Makes approximately 8 4-ounce jars.

cook’s note: Making the jelly takes time, but the tasks can be spread out over several days. Day 1: Harvest the rose hips and refrigerate them. Day 2: Clean and trim the fruit, then simmer the fruit in water and let stand overnight. Day 3: Press the fruit through a colander or fine-mesh strainer to separate the pulp from the seeds. Refrigerate. Day 4: Make the jelly and process the jars.

This recipe provides a basic overview of water bath canning. If you are unfamiliar with how to preserve food in a water bath, visit www.freshpreserving.com for more details. 

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