Picking & Drying Rose Hips for Tea

How to dry and use rose hips for tea. Tips on picking rose hips and three ways to dry them, including the oven, food dehydrator, and using the sun #lovelygreens #wildfood #foraged #foraging #rosehiprecipe #foodforfree #roses #selfsufficient
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How to forage, dry and use rose hips for tea. Tips on picking rose hips, three ways to dry them, and instructions on how to brew them into pot of tea.

It’s that time of year again and the hedgerows are heaving with fruit. With most people intent on collecting juicy blackberries, the bright red but rock hard rose hip is often overlooked. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose bush and in the summer are found as a swollen green part of the stem just underneath the flower. In autumn they swell into a beautiful red ‘hip’ that look stunning on the bush. They’re also delicious dried and made into vitamin c rich tea.

Every rose left uncut will eventually produce a hip but some will appear in the summer and others later in the autumn depending on species. To my knowledge, all rose hips are edible, though some varieties have better flavour than others.

Rose-hip tea is rich in natural Vitamin C

Blessed with a delicate fruity taste and rich in vitamins A, B and C, Rose-hips can be used to make all kinds of things. Jellies, syrups, teas, wine and even cosmetics. Both the fruit and the seeds are edible but you shouldn’t eat rose hips whole because they have irritating hairs inside. Don’t worry though, you can filter them out either before or after the drying process.

How to forage and prepare Rose-hips for making homemade tea. The flavor is rich and fruity and it's also packed with Vitamin C!
Dog Rose (Rosa Canina) and hips from the same species

The best hips for eating are the ones produced by the common wild rose, also known as the Dog Rose (Rosa canina). They’re firm, deep red hips that are rich in flavour and easy to find and harvest. They’re ready in autumn but it’s said the best time to harvest them is directly after a frost. Try to pick ones that are firm and vibrantly coloured. If you find any that are going soft or that have dark spots on them, pass them by.

You can dry smaller hips whole but the larger ones have a lot of hairs inside.  The Japanese rose (Rosa rugosa) is another common rose that produces edible and gigantic hips. Literally four or five times the size of a dog rosehip. You can often find them growing in municipal plantings here on the Isle of Man. I like to err on the cautious side and try to remove as much from inside these hips as possible before drying them.

How to forage and prepare Rose-hips for making homemade tea. The flavor is rich and fruity and it's also packed with Vitamin C!
Japanese Rose (Rosa Rugosa) and hips from the same species

Drying Rose-hips for Tea

Rinse the hips in water and allow them to dry. Next, if you’re using Rosa Rugosa hips, cut them open and remove as many of the seeds as possible. If you’ve picked the smaller Rosa Canina (Dog Rose) hips, then just snip the top and bottom of the hip off and leave it fairly intact. They’re much smaller so will dry easier than the larger Rugosas.

Place the hips in the oven at low heat for about three and a half hours until they’re bone dry. You’ll need to prop open the oven door with a tea towel (or similar) just a crack so that moisture can escape from inside. Or see below for food dehydrator drying.

How to forage and prepare Rose-hips for making homemade tea. The flavor is rich and fruity and it's also packed with Vitamin C
Preparing the rose-hips by cutting them open and removing the seeds

Allow the hips to cool completely then place them in a paper bag to dry out for another week or so. When you’re sure that the pieces are bone-dry, run them through a food processor until they’re roughly chopped. Pour it all into a sieve and shake the ‘itching powder’ out and onto newspaper or into a bag. You’ll be amazed at how easy they filter through the mesh.

Store your tea in an air-tight container in a dark and cool place. The tea is best used within a year but can last longer depending on storage methods.

Food Dehydrator Method

Drying rose hips in a food dehydrator is far easier and uses less energy than an oven. Pick your rose-hips, rinse them with cool water, and allow them to dry. Prepare as described in step one above and then place them in a thin layer on the racks of your food dehydrator. Allow your dehydrator to dry them until they are bone-dry. Cool and store as described above.

How to forage and prepare Rose-hips for making homemade tea. The flavor is rich and fruity and it's also packed with Vitamin C
When completely dry, rose hips are dark in colour and very hard

Air drying Rose Hips

There are two ways of air-drying rose hips. If the weather is warm and dry you can first clean the hips and spread them on waxed paper or screens. The sun can dry smaller hips or pieces of hips in as little as a day. If they’re not completely dry, take the hips inside overnight and put them out again the next day. If you have a greenhouse or polytunnel you can dry them inside and leave them in overnight.

You can also dry rose hips inside. It can take around a month but it’s a good option if you’re pinched for outdoor space or the weather isn’t great.  Clean and spread them on screens or wax paper-lined trays and set them someplace dry and well ventilated. When they’re completely dry you can store them in jars.

Making Rose Hip Tea

Measure out 1 teaspoon of dried rose hips for each cup of tea you’re going to make. Pour scalding water over the hips and leave to infuse for about five minutes. Remove the tea leaf holder from your teapot and discard the contents. Yes, you can compost the wet hips. Serve the tea immediately and add a little honey or stevia to sweeten it.

How to forage and prepare Rose hips for making homemade tea. The flavor is rich and fruity and it's also packed with Vitamin C!
Rose hip tea is fruity and delicious


  1. Hi Tanya, thanks for the advice, regarding the ‘after the first frost advice’ the same is said for Sloes, my advice is to put them into the freezer for a short time and surely this will replicate a ‘first frost experience for the fruit’!
    Gura mie ayd, John ‘Dog’

  2. I’ve read heat such as hot water will kill most of the vitamin C in Rosehip, is that correct? However most recipes require hot water for dried rosehip which is all i can find in the city. is there another recipe that won’t destroy the vitamin C in rosehip?


    1. I use them in second ferments in Kombucha drinks. Love the taste and all nutrients preserved plus probiotics to boost!

  3. Even though the concept of vitamins weren’t known at the time, Michel de Nostradamus treated his plague patients with rose hips with decent success. Even though Yersinia Pestis is far tougher than the common cold, I wonder if the increase of Vitamin C in a diet devoid of these vitamins and minerals built a much stronger immune system and helped prevent and/or assist in the recovery from the plague.

    I think Nostradamus had celestial connections!

  4. In the spring I pecked the flowers of the Rosa Multiflora bush (invasive species in Connecticut). Dried them and use them for tea. Has anybody tried that? Not sure what it is good for, but tastes good and it is very fragrant.

  5. Hi there! When harvesting rose hips for topical use, is it best to wait until after the first frost? Would it affect the beneficial properties if you harvest them earlier?

    1. It’s probable that the beneficial properties are better before the first frost Mel. Afterwards they can be sweeter and more fruity but they also run the chance of spoiling. Not a scientific explanation at all but just my gut feeling.

      1. I live in Mississippi, I have one variety of wild roses whos hips are turning now, if I dont get them as soon as they turn, they will never make it to see a frost, which we may not get here until early November, so I think it depends on where you live and your climate, when the best time to harvest them is. I have other roses that are just now forming green hips and they wont be ready until late october or later.

  6. My grandmother swore by Rosehip syrup. It was given to us as children during the winter months. "A tablespoon a day will keep the doctor away", she would tell us. It certainly helped, and we kids loved the tasty syrup.

  7. I've always been a huge fan of rose hips in the garden. Some of the best can see a bush covered in orange.

    I enjoyed your post even though I can't replicate it, it was just fun to see how you used them.

  8. We have wild roses here that give rather small rose hips… shall try to harvest them for tea… thanks for the good information and pretty pics…

  9. The hairs are the worst part of them…in fact my chest is a bit itchy right now from handling the seeds and then touching my skin accidentally. Not very nice! But if you're making tea it's not a big deal if you don't get all the hairs out. After you dry the hips, pulse them very roughly and not too small. Then dump the lot into a fine-mesh strainer and toss it around gently. A fine powder and most of the hairs will come out then – discard it carefully. After that, pulse the hips a bit more so that the pieces are about the size of coarse sea salt and store. When you make tea with it just make sure to use a tea sock – any remaining hairs will get trapped inside. How much you collect depends on you. I'd say that after drying you'll have about 1/4 the amount you began with when it was fresh. But two sandwich bags full will give you enough to cover a large baking tray. Hope this helps :)

  10. Hi, I've spotted some in the hedgerow at work and would love to try some as a tea. How difficult is it to get rid of the hairs inside? How would I go about making the tea? How much should I collect? sorry, lots of questions but I've never foraged for rose hips before!

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