Rosehip Vodka Liqueur aka Rosehip Schnapps
We foraged loads of Rosehips last autumn and winter, and we made most of them into rosehip syrup. However I held a few back and made a small batch of Rosehip Vodka Liqueur. Having just bottled it, I can confirm it is delicious already and we haven't left it to mature yet! We will be making far more of it this year.
Whilst rose petals are foraged to make all sorts of lovely things, the fruit of the rose - the rosehips - tend to be most widely used. The beautiful, deep orange/red jewels hang in the hedgerows long after many other things have died off, so they're easy to spot.
We find rosehips here in the South East from September onwards, and I was still spotting them in hedgerows in January this year. It may differ slightly where you live, depending on how cold it gets.
Replicating The First Frost - Bletting
As with Sloes, it is said that you should gather rosehips after the first frost. And, as with sloes, if you waited that long around here they would rot in the hedgerow before you gathered them. We are often foraging sloes and rosehips at the same time, as there is some overlap in their fruiting seasons.
We follow the same practice with rosehips as we do with sloes when we make sloe gin. We pick them at their best, and then freeze the fruits on baking sheets before using them to replicate the first frost. This is said to partially replicate bletting, which is the process fruits undergo, beyond ripening. The cell walls of the fruits are broken down and the juice is more readily released.
This recipe was adapted from the Andy Hamilton's delicious Rosehip Schnapps recipe. I like to add glycerol to my liqueur recipes which gives them that lovely soft 'mouthfeel' which is often missing from homemade liqueurs.
Rosehip Vodka Liqueur Recipe
300g freshly picked rosehips, which have been frozen and defrosted
100g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon glycerol
1. Give the rosehips a good wash, then top and tail them.
2. Put them in a large jar, and add the sugar.
3. Cover with the vodka, put the lid on. Give it a good shake to start dissolving the sugar.
4. Put the jar on a shelf. Give it a good shake whenever you're passing, until the sugar has all dissolved.
5. Leave in a dark-ish place for about 6 months.
6. Strain the liqueur through a coffee filter or double layer muslin cloth into a bottle. Add the teaspoon of glycerol to the liqueur, put the stopper on, give it a shake.
7. Leave the bottle for another couple of months to mature before drinking.
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