Tuesday 14 October 2008

The soup of the Rose

It's almost too late to gather rosehips, another couple of weeks and they will be over, squishy and rotten. I've never had much time for rosehip syrup and rosehip wine is appalling (at least, it was when we made it) but I don't like to see all these lovely red berries going to waste.

I decided to try the Swedish speciality, Nyponsoppa, to see if it would make me change my mind about the benefit of these fruits.


It's actually quite nice. Not usually served in a sundae glass like this but I wanted to catch the glowing colour. Swedes apparently enjoy it with cream, almonds, even ice cream in the plate of hot soup but it was pleasant enough to drink as a warm beverage from the glass without any other additions.

Something of a faff for a single person, all that boiling, mashing and straining but perhaps I'd feel differently if I had a farmhouse table surrounded by tousleheaded babies waiting for their vitamin C booster. Anyone like to oblige?

You will need: (and I can only apologise for the mish mash of measurement units here)

1 pint of rosehips (that's about 400g)
4 pints of water (2.25 litres)
Sugar to taste ( I used 100g, 4oz is the amount usually suggested)
1 tbsp. cornflour, (15g or so)

Crush your rosehips roughly and put them in a big enough pan with the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours until the fruit is completely soft. Mash down again with a potato masher and allow to cool for a bit.

Much is made of the necessity to remove the irritant hairs found in the hips around the seeds. A very fine jelly bag is the optimum for straining but I used a muslin teatowel draped over a fine nylon seive and that seems to have worked pretty well. Obviously don't squeeze it or you may risk fibres or seeds getting through.

Strain your juice and return to the pan with the sugar. I had about 3 pints at this stage. Bring back to a simmer. Slake your cornflour (or potato flour is traditional if you have it) with a little juice and then add it to the soup, stirring continuously until the soup boils and the floury appearance cooks out.

Serve hot with flaked almonds, soya yoghurt or thick cream or vegan ice cream. Plenty for six.

This can be made at other time of the year by using dried rosehips. Use about 100g in place of the 400g fresh above.

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