Right about this time of year is when the gate-crashing usually starts. My 4-year-old and 8-year-old bring the uninvited guests home from school. First sniffles, then coughs, and finally all-night hacking. The cycle repeats itself through the winter on a seemingly endless loop of crusty noses, balled-up tissue paper, and general grumpiness.
Whoever discovers a cure for the common cold will be richer than Midas, if not richer than the guy who can make hangovers go away, but in the meantime we've got vitamin C. It just so happens that rosehips—the red, globular fruit of the rose—have vitamin C in spades. I picked some the other day with food reporter Leslie Kelly, who writes for the Amazon food blog Aldente among other publications. This was urban foraging at its best, with good views of float planes landing on Lake Union and the Space Needle looming overhead. Leslie even filmed a bit of the action.
They say hips are at their best after first frost but I don't have time to wait until Halloween before visitors scarier than trick-or-treaters start knocking at the door. With about a quart's worth I made syrup. It's pretty simple. First grind the hips in a food processor, then cover with water and simmer for 30 or so minutes before running the mush through a food mill and then straining out the pulp. You can save the pulp for other purposes. The strained juice goes back in the pot with sugar—or better yet, honey—to taste, and any other odds and ends such as cloves, cinnamon, or ginger—and voila: a Vitamin C-Bomb that can be mixed into juice or water for the kids—or used for more gustatory purposes in desserts, sauces, jams, or even cocktails.
So next time you're out and about and you spy some of those bright red vitamin C-bombs, do the hip shake, babe.