Wild About - Rose Hips (Pork with Sweet and Sour Rose Hip Sauce)

How to Identify Rose Hips

We started the Wild Things Round Up to reinforce the point that foraging for food and medicine is accessible to everyone, young and old, city or country, all can go wild. And so, one of the reasons we chose rose hips as our first featured herb is that pretty much everyone knows what a rose looks like.

For both food and medicine, it's perfectly ok to use garden roses. The caveat is that you must be absolutely certain, you must know that your garden roses have never been sprayed with chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Always with foraging, when in doubt, walk away.

If you are hunting for wild roses (Rosa spp.), they look only slightly different from their garden cousins.  Wild roses tend to grow on shorter, shrubbier plants, with a single row of pink petals, and a bright yellow center.

After roses flower, the bud fades, and a rose fruit - the rose hip - matures.  In the beginning, it is quite waxy and plump, like the apples to which it is related, and can be a bit mealy. After a frost, the hip becomes transluscent pink-red, and develops a stronger flavor.  Rose hips can be utilized both in their fresh and dried states, and can even be picked from the plants in the dead of winter.

Rose hips have quite a few seeds and a thick skin, so must either be de-seeded by hand, strained out, or run through a food mill or cheesecloth to obtain their juices and/or pulp.

Rose hips have a flavor which is a bit like sun dried tomato meets crabapple meets rose. Like the apples to which they are related, rose hips have a high pectin content and gel up nicely.  So, when you create recipes with rose hips, it's often helpful to think of them in apple-like dishes.

To learn about the medicinal properties of rose hips and find a recipe for rose hip syrup, click on over to Bek's site, Cauldrons and Crockpots.

 Pork with Sweet and Sour Rose Hip Sauce

I had a wonderful idea to use Bek's rose hip syrup to make sweet and sour pork.  Only trouble is, I couldn't think of what actually went into sweet and sour pork.  Then I looked up a few recipes online and discovered that it contained decided non-local non-seasonal ingredients like pineapple and red bell pepper, and oftentimes a horrid ketchup-y sauce.  So, as usual, I went off in another direction.  This recipe was inspired by sweet and sour pork, but is certainly it's own animal.

To make the sauce, in a saucepan combine 1/2 c. rosehip syrup, 1 T. white wine vinegar, 1 T. water, 1/8 tsp. ground pink peppercorns, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 T. finely diced shallot.  Bring the sauce to a simmer, and let reduce until it's quite thick.

Meanwhile, season thinly diced pork with salt and pepper, and fry it in a hot saute pan, stir-fry style, until brown and cooked through.  Remove the meat from the pan, and saute your choice of seasonal vegetables.  In this case, I used the only fresh veg I had around - a few parsnips, and some kale from my garden (that plant is ten months old!).

When everything is cooked, toss the meat quickly in the sweet and sour rose hip sauce, and serve over the vegetables.  Top with either toasted sesame seeds or crispy fried shallots.

****Wild Things is a round up challenge.  At the end of February, we'd love to see what you've been cooking with rose hips.  Contact us at wildthings.roundup@gmail.com.  See you then!*****

I'm sharing this post with Real Food Wednesday, keep it real, y'all.


  1. What a creative dish! I have never cooked with rose hips before - they are almost too pretty, but the dish is even prettier!

  2. Wow that looks gorgeous!!! I've never cooked with them, love the history on it. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. What wonderful food ideas you have here. Look forward to discovering more of your special recipes.

  4. Belinda - They're actually a very versatile ingredient. Do you have any near you? Join us this month!

    Thank you Alexis and Greenie.

  5. I've never tried rose-hip, but I love your take on a sweet and sour sauce. I can imagine this would be wonderful with pork.
    Sue :-)

  6. Now I wish that I had some more savoury ideas because that looks and sounds amazing. Though we probably make quite a good pair with our differences.

  7. You are right about that, my friend. You know I'm a little lost when it comes to making sweet dishes :)

  8. This looks delicious! I'm making my own version with onions and garlic instead of shallots, and serving it over chicken wings instead of pork. Thanks for the terrific idea!

  9. Penny - Sounds delish. I love sweet and sour chicken. And I bet you're serving it with foraged wild greens, too, right?


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