Good morning! Ever since we started working from home back in March, on my days off, I’ve been spending more time walking along what is called the Interurban trail, which is a 14-mile paved, bike and pedestrian trail with plenty of greenery as well as ample opportunities for foraging fruit! A few days ago, I even discovered a plum tree that is fairly close to the trail but obscured somewhat from other shrubbery! Unfortunately, the plums are somewhat high in the tree, so next time I go I’m taking my lightweight step stool in the hopes that I’d be able to pick a few. I noticed some ripe plums that have already fallen, so there’s a good chance nobody else has thought to pick them (yet)!
One of the things I didn’t realize were forageable and edible are wild roses and their rosehips. In fact, when I took this photo above back in March, I didn’t know even know that it was a rosehip! Since then I’ve learned that there are many other varieties of rosehip. This variety is called rugosa rose, which also has a few other names, like dog rose, or shrub roses. There are other varieties that have narrower rosehips. Just make sure not to pick rosehips from a plant that has been sprayed with pesticides. Both Seattle and Shoreline do not use pesticides on the interurban trail or elsewhere.
You may be wondering what rosehips taste like. They are very subtle. It helps to pick the really red ones, which tend to have more flavor. Online resources say to wait until the first frost because they are more ripe at that time. I did not get a strong sense of what they taste like, but I would say the flavor is only slightly floral with grassy notes. I incorporated the rosehips into both the milk and the sugar because I wanted to make sure they did not float to the bottom of the cake while being baked, and I knew that this cake tends to be a thin batter, so I made sure to mince the rosehips before incorporating it into the milk and sugar for the batter. The result is you can find flecks of the rosehips all throughout the cake.
The rose petals have much more of a floral rose scent and taste, so next time I might use that or incorporate some of the petals into a recipe. Or I might oven-dry the rosehips first to concentrate the flavor. I should warn you, though, that picking them involves possibly getting your fingers pricked by the thorns of their stems, and the inner part contains a lot of seeds and hairy parts that are inedible and can irritate your mouth and digestive tract. Freezing them beforehand helps make it easier to cut and separate the seeds and innards from the rest of the fruit.
Honestly, I only wanted to try these because the idea of foraging and getting free produce, no matter how small, no matter how tedious the task, I find appealing. This turned out to be very labor-intensive, so next time, (if there is a next time), I might use a ready-made store-bought product like rosehip powder, or rosehip jam or jelly. But I’m now more focused on the local plums I saw a few days ago, so you might see plums on this blog very soon! I’m already thinking of a plum galette with some kind of herb to go with it. Stay tuned.
orange rosehip teacake (makes one 12″ x 4.5″ tea loaf cake)
about 2 dozen medium ripe rosehips, (5 ounces after cleaned and seeded)
Zest and juice of one medium orange
1 cup whole milk
1 and 1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
3.5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 and 3/4 cake flour, sifted
1 and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
rosehip tea icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon corn syrup
scant 1/4 cup rosehip tea, lukewarm (steeping about 6 rosehips, chopped, in a cup of boiling water for an hour, then strained)
1/2 a drop of pink food coloring (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a teacake loaf pan (12 x 4.5) and line with a piece of parchment paper that overhangs on two opposite sides for easy removal of cake. Set aside.
Wash and dry rosehips, then remove top stems and bottoms, cut each in half and remove all seeds and hairy inner parts. If rosehips are really soft from being ripe, it helps to freeze them first. After seeds and inner parts are removed, you should have half shells of the skin with some of the flesh. Rinse and dry each rosehip shell very well. Chop finely or use the pulse button of a food processor.
Zest and juice one medium orange. Set aside.
Place the milk in a saucepan and add half the rosehips to the milk. Heat on medium heat until almost boiling, then remove from heat, add the juice from the orange and put a lid or plate on the saucepan. Let steep for at least an hour before using. Set aside.
If you used a food processor to chop the rosehips, add the sugar and orange zest to the remaining half of the rosehips and pulse again a few times, just until rosehips are blended into the sugar, turning the sugar a light orange color. Alternatively, if you chopped the rosehips, place them in a bowl and add the sugar and orange zest to it and whisk together or use a hand held mixer to blend the rosehips into the sugar, turning it a light orange color. Set aside.
In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and stir with a whisk several times. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs with a hand held electric mixer with beater attachments, beating on high speed for 5 minutes. Eggs should be fluffy and light in color.
After beating 5 minutes, gradually add the rosehip/sugar/zest mixture to the eggs, still beating on high speed and adding about ½ cup at a time.
Add the orange blossom water and beat again.
After the milk/rosehip/orange juice mixture has steeped, add the cubes of butter to the milk mixture and return the saucepan to medium heat. Heat up just until all the cubes of butter have melted and the mixture is warm but do not bring to a boil. Pour milk mixture into a blender or pulse in a food processor very briefly just to get the milk slightly frothy.
Sift the cake flour mixture on top of the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula or use the hand held mixer on low until just mixed in.
Slowly pour the milk mixture into the batter while using the handheld electric beater on low, then use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat on low until the milk mixture is fully mixed in with the rest of the cake batter.
Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes until the top is browned and a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean. While cake is baking, make the icing by combining all the icing ingredients into a bowl and whisking together or beating with an electric beater until smooth and pourable.
Remove cake from oven and let rest in pan for about 10 minutes before taking out of pan. Top with icing or dust with powdered sugar and cut up into slices. Garnish cake with a wild rose, if desired.