Monday, May 7, 2018
Foraging for Rosehips
Yesterday my friend Katherine and I went foraging for rosehips and apples. There are plenty of old rosebushes growing wild along the country roads of Tasmania, and plenty of old apple trees growing in ditches along farm fence lines as well.
We were on a mission. Last year we picked rosehips and I made a litre or so of rosehip syrup which I used for frivolous activities like making salad dressing. Katherine made six litres of it and took a spoonful every day from May to September and swears it is the reason she doesn't get sick over the winter. It may very well be so. Rosehip syrup is very high in Vitamin C and who knows what other compounds. During World War II in Britain the government sent a request to all the Women's Institute groups to pick rosehips to supply a healthy tonic for British children. It tastes delicious, which must have been rather a relief for the children who were no doubt regularly administered doses of castor oil and other nasty concoctions to keep them healthy and regular.
So, rosehip syrup for health this year. Plus, travelling the back roads of Tasmania and stopping to pick scarlet rosehips while catching up with a good friend? What could be better? As Katherine noted, more fun than a flu shot. When we had picked a sufficiency of rosehips we started hunting for apple trees. Katherine has a new fabulous apple picking doohickey, which is like a basket on a pole to pick hard-to-reach apples. This was excellently efficient and entertaining. I wish I had taken a photo, but we were laughing too much. All the trees seemed to have planted themselves in ditches by the side of the road, generally in the centre of blackberry patches, and it was all we could do not to fall in whilst woman-handling the apple picking contraption. At the first tree we stopped at, a bevy of chickens was milling hopefully about waiting for apples to drop from the sky for their lunch. When we arrived and started picking and dropping apples they were very excited. I am glad to think that we brightened the day for some hungry chickens.
Of course, we brightened our own day too, coming home with bags and bags of delicious apples and lots of rosehips. Apple crumble has now been on the menu two days running already, with more to come.
It may be that you live in a land of rosehips and apples, or maybe not, but wherever you are, there is likely food on the side of the road to be gathered. What do you forage for and glean in your patch of city or countryside?