Spring is decidedly here, as evidenced by temperatures creeping up and up, days of rain, snow and ice now taking the form of streams, buds on the trees and our favorite spring greens popping up everywhere.
In our yard, I’m greeted by Corn Speedwell, Red Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum), Bedstraw (Galium triflorum), Plantain (Plantago major), Curly Dock (Rumex crispus), Chickweed (Stellaria media), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Burdock (Arctium lappa), and the beginnings of Violet (Viola sororia), all uncultivated. In the woods, ramps and garlic mustard are springing up in abundance, signaling the beginning of morel season.
With all of these foraging options, today I chose to focus on a wild food that could have, and perhaps should has, been harvested last fall after the first frost: Rose Hips. High in Vitamin C, rose hips are said to be a general health and wellness staple. The fruit of both cultivated and wild roses occurs after the blooms have died, sending nutrients to a round red-orange fruit, containing the seeds, just behind the rose blossom. Embarrassingly, I’ve not tried them myself. Knowing that they are often dried to be used in teas or herbal infusions, I could not ignore the glut of large hips still present on the bushes in our next door neighbor’s front yard.
Darren and I headed out for a twelve foot hike, scissors and buckets in hand.
With no instruction from me, he chose an effective method to harvest: snip the ends with scissors held in one hand, while your other hand holds a bucket just below to catch the hip as it falls.
We’ll pick through these to remove any that are mushy instead of sun-dried.