As a gardener living close to the majestic, yet unforgiving Atlantic Ocean, I'm always in search of plants that can sustain harsh seaside conditions. Through trial and error, I've managed to grow a rather eye pleasing perennial garden of flowers and shrubs that can hold their own against the bitter cold, wicked winds and stinging salt spray. Our rugosa rose bushes in particular have been very successful. Nothing pleases my nose more than their heavenly scent during an early-morning stroll through our garden path. With autumn drawing near, the beautiful pink blossoms of the summer have been replaced by plump, bright red fruit - rose hips.
Until recently, I had only admired rose hips for their beauty and the cheerful splash of color they added to my fall garden. Little did I know the culinary treat that I had growing in my own front yard! A long-time gardener friend introduced me to their edible nature after she enthusiastically picked a ripe red hip and began to nibble on it. Of course, I joined in on the fun and was pleasantly surprised by their tasty apple-like flavor. A few Google searches later and I had big plans to make my homegrown batch of rose hip jelly.
Despite a few thorns in my side, I was able to pick a few quarts in no time. Not only did I make a delicious batch of jelly, I even had enough left over to make yummy rose hip cake. Ironically, the cake recipe was supplied by Chi-Chi and Muffy, directly from the pages of one of their favorite story books, A Whole Day Full of Surprises from The Adventures of Broughton Bear series. My gardener friend (who has more patience than I do) seeded a basket of rose hips and popped them in the blender with a dash of honey. She claims it makes a very tasty topping to her morning yogurt. I just might give this a try!
As a bonus, rose hips are an excellent source of Vitamin C! With cold and flu season on its way, a little extra Vitamin C in the house might not be a bad idea. I've still got lots left to dry for a healthy and tasty cup of tea during the colder months.
Now I'm starting to wonder what other tasty treats are hiding in my flower garden....any suggestions?