Creamy Rose Hip Dressing

What You'll Need

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • small saucepan
  • microplane or zester
  • high speed blender
  • fine mesh strainer
  • bottle or jar with cover for storage
  • 1/2 cup rose hips
  • 1/4 cup water, plus a few tablespoons more, if needed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or verjus
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Rose hips are the small red or orange seedheads left on the rose bush after the flowers have faded. I don’t know why they are called hips; perhaps because they are so curvaceous? They are also known as rose haws, which does not have quite the same ring to it. They ripen from green to orange and some to deeper red. Generally, the smaller and redder the hip/haw is, the more flavor it has. And what flavor! Rich in tart vitamin C, with floral/herbal notes, rose hips are a secret ingredient in many tea blends. And that is key. While birds and other forest creatures can eat them freely when raw, the texture of a rose hip is nearly inedible to humans without cooking; the flesh is mealy, or dry, and the seeds inside have a furry coating that irritates the throat. When boiled or infused in water, though, the hips give up their rich color, flavor, and nutrition easily. Since both seeds and skins of rose hips are rich in pectin, the liquid will have a slightly thickened quality, a silkiness that glides through the mouth. In addition to vitamin C, rose hips also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and K.

If you are gathering your own rose hips, choose hips from bushes that have not been sprayed and are far from the roadside. Wild roses have better flavor than many cultivated varieties, though there are some, such as rugosa roses, that are grown specifically for their hips. You can find them, often without seeds, in the bulk herb section of many natural food stores. Commonly used for medicine for ailments ranging from the common cold to gastric inflammation, the rose hips you buy in the store will be selected for flavor and nutritional quality.

Please be sure of your identification and do not forage for wild foods unless you are an expert at plant identification. 

Based on a recipe from The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook: Fresh-from-the-Garden Recipes for Gatherings Large and Small.

Makes about 12 ounces.
rose hip dressing



Combine rose hips and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes.boil mixtureIf too much water evaporates, add more, a tablespoon at a time; you want to have a quarter cup of infused liquid left at the end of the boil.bring to a boil in a saucepan
When the rose hip liquid has cooled slightly, pour it into a blender with the red wine vinegar or verjus.blend with vinegar Whirl the mixture around, seeds and skins and all, until smooth.
Pour the pureed mixture through a fine strainer, to remove skins and seeds.
strain to remove skins and seedsReturn the strained mixture to the blender, and add the zest, juice, sea salt, and olive oil. add other ingredientsBlend these together until a creamy consistency is reached.
blend until creamyPour this dressing generously over a salad of butter lettuce, fall apples, orange segments, and walnut for a seasonal salad sensation.


dress a salad of your choiceOver to You

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