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Fruit of the rose yields delicious treat

Recipe: Rose hip jelly tastes (surprise!) like hibiscus

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Make a small batch of jelly from the garden. The rose is Rainbow Sorbet, a floribunda,
one of many used in this jelly. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)
It’s harvest time in the rose garden. A byproduct of annual pruning: Rose hips.

Rose hips
Rose hips come in many shapes and sizes.
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose and are packed with flavor and vitamin C. A cup of raw rose hips contains 12 times as much vitamin C as a whole orange.
In nature, rose hips are deer candy. Deer can’t resist these little red or orange nuggets. (That’s why rose bushes have sharp prickles: so hungry animals won’t eat the whole plant.)
It’s not surprising that rose hips are tasty. Roses come from the same family as apples, pears, quinces, loquats, almonds, peaches, apricots, plums and cherries.
But rose hips don’t taste like roses – or any of those other fruit. They have a more tropical taste similar to hibiscus, the main flavoring of Red Zinger tea (which also contains rose hips).
Speaking of Red Zinger, the most common use of rose hips is dried in tea. Trimmed hips can be dried quickly in a dehydrator or slowly on a windowsill.
If you have a lot of rose hips, consider making rose hip jelly. Use only hips from roses that are pesticide free; in particular, don’t use hips from roses treated with systemic pesticides. (The chemicals find their way into all parts of the plant.)
Rose hips have little or no natural pectin. That’s where their cousin apples come in. In this recipe, apples add some natural pectin as well as making up for lack of fresh rose hips.
The result is a flavorful jelly that tastes like a spoonful of tropical sunshine. Who knew it came from a rose garden?

Trimmed rose hips
The rose hips are trimmed for the recipe.
Rose hip jelly
Makes about 4 half-pints

Ingredients:

4 cups rose hips and apples
6 cups water plus more as needed
½ cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons (1 package) powdered pectin
¼ teaspoon butter
3-1/2 cups sugar

Instructions:

With a sharp paring knife, trim rose hips, removing stem and calyx (the pointy crown) on the blossom end. Rinse.
Measure trimmed rose hips. Remove stems from apples, but don’t peel or core. Quarter apples. Add enough apples to rose hips to bring total to 4 cups prepared fruit. Mixture should be primarily rose hips, but include at least two apples.
In a large heavy pot, put prepared rose hips and apples. Add 6 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook on gentle heat until rose hips are soft and mashable, about an hour. Add more water if needed as rose hips and apples cook.
With a potato masher, mash rose hips and apples. Transfer mashed fruit to a jelly bag and let juice drip into a large bowl or 1-quart measuring cup. You need 2-1/2 cups juice; add up to ½ cup water to reach that total.
Rinse out the heavy pot and return juice to pot. Add lemon juice, pectin and butter (which helps prevent foaming). Bring to a boil.
Add sugar all at once. Return to full boil and boil mixture 1 minute. If using a candy thermometer, mix
Jars
Pectin from the apples help the jelly gel.
ture should reach 220 degrees F.
Skim off any foam. Ladle hot mixture into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space, and seal.
Process jars in hot-water bath 10 minutes. Cool and store.
Note: If not processed in hot-water bath, store jelly in the refrigerator for up to one month or freeze.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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