Sunday, 21 September 2008

Hips 'n Haws

During the second world war, rose-hips came into their own in the form of rose-hip syrup, whose taste wartime children can recall as vividly as dried egg!
They are high in Vitimin C so when the war disrupted the usual sources of the Vitimin (citrus fruits mainly) the Government in 1941 under the Ministry of Health initiated a scheme of voluntary collection. The syrup was made by mincing, stewing and then crucially straining through a jelly bag the hips to remove prickly seeds, then boiled again with sugar and reduced to a syrup.

On a personal note, my Mum told me that during the war she and her family used to ride on their bikes out of London into Buckinghamshire to spend the day collecting rose-hips. Her Mum would then make up the syrup as my Mum was too old at 12 to be able to get it via the Ministry of Health scheme.

Apparently it is still made commercially today.

Haws are berries from the Hawthorn tree. Local legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain with 11 other desciples some time between AD30 and 63. He travelled to Glastonbury in Somerset and thrust his staff in the ground where it took root and grew to become the original Christmas flowering thorn.
Young Hawthorn leaves are often the first wild green leaves that children eat and was universally known as 'bread and cheese'. Here is a quote from Flora Britannica "We would pick the red berries and green leaves in autumn - the leaf the bread, the berry the cheese".
Apparently these are only just about edible, not something I've tried myself!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

Thats a really interesting and informative post. The matching red text is a nice touch as well. What you may not know is that if you break open a Hip berry, inside is a fibrous substance that makes great itching powder if you shove it down some ones back.
Try it on Adrian!!! {:)

Jenny said...

Hi Roy
You cheeky chappy you! (-: Yes, in the Flora Britannica it said that another name for rose-hips is ichy-coos because it was used by naughty boys as itching powder. I bet you were one of those!!!

Mary said...

Hips and haws....fascinating, but I'm not sure they sound very good to eat to me. I guess in wartime you take what you can get. Itching powder? My, my....boys will be boys. Obviously Roy has some first hand knowledge here.

Adrian said...

Hey Wren

Nice post - I was thinking of restarting my art with pictures of haws and hips.

Hi Roy - I'm too savvy to fall for the old drop the haws down the back of the shirt trick!!! But thanks for suggesting it all the same!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Me Jen, Naughty???

Only purely in the interests of science and experimentation of course.

Mosura said...

My sister-in-law in Scotland still makes Rose Hip Syrup and uses it as a cordial.

Eve said...

Well, I got a good laugh out of the comments from this interesting post!! I've never heard of the "itching" power of rose hips!! Hummmm, how could I try that on over here?
Very funny bunch we are!