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Recipe: Foraged “Kekkle Boil” Rosehip Syrup

hedgerow22I used to get Rose Hip syrup with warm water before bed everynight… “kekkle boil and clean water” is what I used to call this hot sweet drink by Mum served up to me.

It is the richest source of Vitamin C and has a super sweet delicious taste – it is meant to also have a calming effect on children – and was given by the spoonful back in the day (so my mum says!).

The rose hips are readily available in hedgerows and some gardens at this time of year – and usually are picked now to make into candy and jelly..  and after the first frost (when they are much softer) are used to make syrup.

You can either wait until mid October – or pick now and freeze to emulate the frost.  It may mean they are not quite as sweet – but none the less still taste good, and the early fruiting may mean they spoil come October and our warm summer means that Sussex hips are ripe about now.

The BIG TIP is DO NOT USE AN ALUMINIUM PRESERVING PAN – as this strips out the Vitamin C – you need to use an enamel pan or stainless steel.   We have tried a couple of recipes (some way more complicated which is not me at all) but like this ones simplicity and result – which is why it is in my recipe notebook (as posted in 2010).


  • 2.5 litres of water
  • 1 kg of rosehips – yes a lot but its free!
  • 500g of sugar (granulated is fine)

(MAKES about 75ml)

 How to make it:
  1. Top and tail the rosehips – if you have picked them before the first frost stick them in the freezer for a couple of days – to a week, then defrost.
  2. Bring 1.5 litres of the water to boil.
  3. Whizz up the rose hips in a food processer – so they make a pulp
  4. Add to the boiling water, make sure it comes back up to the boil and then remove from the heat and let it stand for around 15 minutes to cool, and for the Vitamins and flavour to go into the water. (Note I have been told that boiling water (100C) is a lot less than boiling vitamin C (about 185C) which is why it doesnt dissolve with boiling water)
  5. Pour through a pre boiled or ironed (to steralise it) muslin square and allow the liquid to drip through.  Alternatively you can use a colander and then a mesh sieve – which does leave a bit more pulp but does the same job)!
  6. Return the pulp to the pan and add 1 litre of fresh boiling water from the kettle and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to cool.
  7. Strain through the muslin (or double sieve technique) again – I use the sieves and push through the last bits with the back of a ladle to make sure I get all the good stuff!.
  8. Pour extracted liquid this time into a clean saucepan and boil to reduce the liquid to 75 cl (a wine bottles worth)
  9. Add the sugar and boil rapidly for around 5 minutes to create the syrup.
  10. Pour into hot sterile small stopper top bottles and seal immediately.

NOTE: We bought a job lot of these on ebay for about £5 2 years ago – and you sterilise them by washing and placing upside down in a 160c oven and then turn off while you make the syrup – sterilise the tops in the dishwasher – or boil for 5 minutes.

The bottles keep – but once open – keep in the fridge and use within a week for best flavour – which is why we use small bottles on all our cordials!
Seriously this is delicious – let us know how you get on or if you have any questions.
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