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Fields, Forests & Wetlands Foods of Eastern North America

A Complete Wild Food Guide

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Season: Late Summer and Fall

Urban, Rural or Both: Both

Rose Hips, the fruit that grows on Rose (Rosa) bushes after the flower dies, can be quite tart, but that is because they are full of vitamin C. Look for orange or red skins, and don't bother if wrinkled looking. They tend to be milder after a frost, but many have gone bad by then as well. I just eat them when I find them.

Gather, then cut off both ends, cut in half and scrape out all seeds and hairs. I find the larger ones taste better and are easier to clean out using a teaspoon. Make sure you clean them out completely - this is important, as the seeds have arsenic in them and the hairs will get stuck in your throat and mouth. At this point, you can either eat some right away raw, make tea from them raw, dry them out for tea, or use in baked goods or small amounts in stir fry's chopped very small.

They can be found everywhere people have gardens, and all over in the wild.

Growing this plant in your home garden:

Yes, what can I say? This is one of the most common flower garden bushes there is. The trick is getting a variety that produces large, good tasting Rose Hips. Most Rose plants are bred for the flowers, not the Rose Hips. If you ask at a nursery for a large fruited kind, they will have them. A mall near me has landscaping out front along the road and has some of the best, biggest Rose Hips I've tried.


Rose (Rosa) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.

rose hip cluster

Watch out for thorns when gathering Rose Hips. Notice the wrinkly one on the left of the cluster, leave those.

Rose hip

Close up, notice how rose hips often have parts of the dead rose flower left on. When eating, cut in half down center, and scoop out all the seeds and hairs - this is important, so make sure you get it all. The tiny seeds contain arsenic, and the hairs are like tiny spikes that will get stuck in your throat and mouth.

rose hip crop

Great crop of Rose Hips with some purple/pink flowers still on bush. Rose hips are a very close relative of the apple.

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Important Notes when Identifying
Rules & Cautions
Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching

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