Rose Hip and Orange Marmalade


Rose Hip and Orange Marmalade

A Winter Adventure

Rose Hips

“He walked by the sad little garden and all around the house—not a new house any more. Even the last added lean-to bedrooms were old and weathered and the putty around the windowpanes had shrunk away from the glass.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


It took me several weeks to gather up my urban foraging courage. On my morning walk I pass a house that is empty with a forlorn “for sale” sign that dominates the front yard. A gigantic rose bush hadn’t been trimmed and was filled with bright red rose hips. I took a pair of clippers and a bag on my walk and set about stripping the bush of all the rose hips. While I was clipping, the neighbors drove into the driveway next door and gave me a puzzled look. Thank goodness they didn’t speak to me. I was on the verge of being the crazy lady who lives in the neighborhood. I was waiting for “Um, hi there, what are you doing in my neighbor’s yard?” “Oh, I, ah, live down the street and am gathering rose hips for making jam.” I gathered up my treasure and wondered if I had enough rose hips to make jam. I had no idea what rose hips tasted like or that they take time and patience to clean and cook. This is my kind of winter adventure.

Cara cara oranges and rose hips

When I was researching cooking with rose hips I discovered the recipe for Rose Hip and Orange Jam in Mes Confitures the classic French bible on all things jam by Christine Ferber. Written in 1997 and organized by season the book zooms ahead of today’s food trends of cooking in season, foraging for ingredients and using the whole edible without generating food waste. Phenomenal flavor combinations like Apple and Caramel, Rhubarb, Acacia Honey and Rosemary, White Peaches and Saffron, all pique my interest. But the recipes are spare on details and the Techniques and Ingredients section is a short four pages. As a novice jam maker the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and the USDA Guide to Preparing and Canning Jams and Jellies are still my foundation for technique.

Cara Cara oranges


Homemade marmalade is so different from store-bought. Each jar retains the aroma and brightness of the citrus, but without any bitterness. And the kitchen smells amazing during the marmalade making. I’ve only made marmalade once before. It was two winters ago and I had forgotten so much. In many marmalade recipes the rind is cut away from the white pith of the citrus. Then the strips of rind are very thinly cut. The pith is discarded and just the fruit and rind are used to make the marmalade. The recipe I used for Rose Hip and Orange Jam instructs to cut the oranges into “thin rounds” and proceed with the marmalade recipe. I preferred not cutting the pith from the rind but next time I will cut the slices in quarters for smaller pieces of rind in the finished marmalade.

Rose Hips for jam

I used Cara Cara oranges for their bright orange color, intense flavor and lack of seeds. Since I didn’t have enough rose hips to properly follow the recipe the oranges dominated the jam. But the rose hips darkened the color of the marmalade and there is a faint floral taste to the jam. The original recipe called for two and a quarter pounds of rose hips. That is a vast amount of rose hips. I just used what I had foraged and gave the recipe a try. Why not? I may never have a pile of rose hips again! Use a sharp knife for cleaning the rose hips and sharpen the knife again to thinly slice the oranges.

Rose Hip and Orange Marmelade

4C trimmed and cleaned bright red rose hips
4-3/4C sugar
2 oranges, very thinly sliced, cut in quarters, seeds removed
3 oranges, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
  1. To prepare the rose hips cut off the tops and bottoms and throughly rinse. Cut each one in half and scrape out the seeds and fine hairs. I used the tip of a vegetable peeler, it fit perfectly into center of the rose hips. Place the rose hips in a non-reactive pan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the rose hips are soft, adding water as needed. When the rose hips can be easily smashed, they are ready. The original recipe states the rose hips will soften in 30 minutes, mine took 3 hours. Cool the softened rose hips with the cooking liquid. Process the rose hips and liquid in a food mill on the finest disk. Discard the skin and pulp. (Alternatively push the rose hips through a mesh strainer.) Strain the rose hip liquid through a fine mesh strainer and set aside. The rose hip liquid can be kept in the refrigerator overnight for jam making the next day.
  2. Choose a large pan as marmalade needs lots room to bubble and boil. In a large non-reactive pan add the orange slices, one cup of sugar and the orange juice. Bring the oranges to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the orange rind becomes translucent, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a bit more juice or water only if needed. Have a thermometer available and canning jars ready as the marmalade is almost done. Add the rose hips, lemon juice and the remaining sugar. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Depending on how thick you like the marmalade it will be ready between 219° and 222°. I always strive for the standard 221°. Take care as the marmalade will thicken quickly and can overcook and scorch. Remove the pan from the heat and ladle the hot marmalade into jars. Refrigerate the marmalade or continue canning in a water bath for ten minutes in accordance with the USDA guidelines for canning.

Rose Hip and Orange Marmalade

Rose Hip and Orange Marmalade and Crackers

This entry was posted in Canning, Creating, DIY, Food, Inspiration, & Pantry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Rose Hip and Orange Marmalade

  1. Carol Sacks says:

    I’m absolutely amazed. It’s as beautiful as it is inventive. Your creativity inspires!

  2. jennifer says:

    Wow! Always a mouth-watering treat to read your blog, and today’s post is no different, just more fabulous. The colors are gorgeous! (And, I’m sure the marmalade is delicious too.)

  3. What a gorgeous marmalade, the color is striking! It’s just what I need to spoon over my homemade rolls.

  4. First off, your photos are absolutely stunning. I enjoy the way you tell a story – I need to make time to visit more often. Glad to know there is no bitter after taste, that has always put me off marmalade.

  5. Deb, rose hip isn’t a flavor I am familiar with but I can just imagine how the faint floral notes made this marmalade quite special. I am a huge fan of orange marmalade. And, coincidently, I tasted my first Cara Cara orange yesterday. It had a bright and fresh citrus flavor. I love the way you packaged the finished product.

  6. mjskit says:

    I bought a large bag of Cara Cara oranges the other day and have been wanting to make a marmalade. Besides just being beautiful, yours is perfect because I have a rose bush in the yard that hasn’t been trimmed and is packed with rosebuds. Thanks so much for this recipe! And as always, your pictures are gorgeous!

  7. What gorgeous pictures, Deb! I’ve never made marmalade before, but I love citrus-flavored jams and jellies on just about everything. Saving this recipe for a lazy afternoon!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the kind comment Alyssa! Making homemade jam is so rewarding. It’s worth an afternoon of effort to have jam to enjoy throughout the year.

  8. Valentina says:

    what a beautiful recipe. the oranges are so striking! i was laughing as read about the neighbors pulling up because my mom IS “that crazy lady” who walks with her garden clippers in her pocket at ALL times. 😀

  9. Cathy says:

    An aromatic combination that sounds very good! I never have enough hips to try anything and last autumn I thought just a little syrup would be a good idea, but the few rose hips out there looked so pretty I didn’t have the heart to harvest them!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the delicious comment Cathy! The rose hips are beautiful! I saved a few and have them in a vase on my desk to remind me that spring will arrive after soon after the quiet of winter.

  10. I’ve heard so many good things about rose hips (I’ve been using oil for a few years now), jam with them sounds fantastic!

  11. Red rose hip? What an interesting ingredient…I’ll have to try it one of these days… I love marmalade and this one looks delicious and very aromatic. Love pics, Deb!

  12. Susie says:

    I have been wanting to use rose hips for years and you have inspired me to give it a go. I don’t have access to them right now, but I think that I will attempt 4 cups, not 2 1/4 pounds just as you did. I have to add that I think that your photography is just gorgeous.

  13. Gerlinde says:

    Hi Deb,
    Rose hip is called Hagebutten in German and used in fruit teas. Your recipe is fantastic and so creative and your pictures and blog as always are stunning. The combination of rose hip and oranges in a marmelade are intriguing .

  14. I love rose hips – if dried, they are so great to make tea with. I bet this marmalade came out so delicious! In the instructions, you say to use “rose rips”. Is it a misprint? 🙂

  15. Emma says:

    Once upon a time long ago, I collected a vast quantity of rose hips from alongside the shore of Lake Superior. But, sad sad sad, I picked them before a frost had hit, and they made absolutely the worst-tasting jammy substance ever. I think having a good frost is important for rose hip success, am I wrong?

    • Deb says:

      Hi Emma! I picked the rose hips after a week of frosty nights. But these are the only rose hips I have ever made jam with so I can’t speak to the difference a frost would make in taste and texture. I would love to learn more about making jam with rose hips!

  16. shannon says:

    i’m a little bit ashamed to say that i wouldn’t know what a rose hip was if one smacked me in the face. good for you for braving the urban foraging! what courage! seriously, i would have had the same reaction: thank goodness those neighbors didn’t say anything…i am always so terrified of that when i stop to grab something or take a photo, etc. just please don’t talk to me. 🙂
    what a stunning marmalade! beautiful work, Deb.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the lovely comment Shannon! My mom was an avid gardener and I learned from her. This was my first attempt at jam making with rose hips!

  17. Mimi says:

    Dammit. I’ve never heard of these oranges!!! Must look into these…
    Love love your photography!

  18. Wow, it looks marvelous Deb! It takes a lot of rose hip to overpower the flavor of the orange I see, because you foraged a lot of them, 4 cups! The things we do for a recipe, like getting the stone eye from the neighbors and not caring…lol! I had never seen a fresh rose hip, such a cute little thing. Very interesting marmalade you made!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the gracious comment Paula! I’m not sure I had enough rose hips to balance the orange flavor, but they do have a presence in the marmalade. My measurement of four cups is before cleaning the little beasts!

  19. I love Cara Cara oranges. So tasty and beautiful. Think it was Carol that turned me on to them last year. And what can I say about rose hips – to me they were just the added ingredient to my dad’s vit c tablets. I never considered that you really could eat/cook with them! Just love the vision of you walking the neighborhood and foraging from the abandoned house – wonderful!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the kind comment Beth! Sometimes I’m not sure where the inspiration comes from but once I am fixated on trying something new in the kitchen I must see the project to completion!

  20. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything with rose hips. But I love a good marmalade. Cara cara oranges sound like just the thing to make this really pop!

  21. Patty says:

    Very cool Deb, how fun to forage for rose hips, love the sound of that!
    The Cara Cara oranges are pretty, aren’t they?
    Hope you are enjoying this beautiful rain 😉

  22. Deb, Deb, Deb. Oh. The glorious sunlight filters in. Warms my heart. All I can think of at midnight in Nigeria is some toast, upon which I can spread this marmalade! Delicious. With stunning photos.

    What courage to forage – something I’d totally do as well :-). Glad you got ‘enough’ rosehips!

    And I love the cross section of the gorgeous CaraCara oranges.

  23. Hannah says:

    Beautiful, Deb! The thought of this zesty, bright marmalade has my taste buds tingling. Love that you went foraging!

    • Deb says:

      What a tasty comment Hannah! I am a huge citrus fan and have made several batches of marmalade this winter. But only one special canning session with rose hips!

  24. Claire says:

    Oh my goodness that last photo has me wanting to try your rose hip and orange marmalade! I like the idea of not cutting the pith off and cutting the slices into quarters too! Way to go on the urban foraging front 🙂

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Claire! I’ve also been making lemon marmalade recipes from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and have grown very fond the techniques and flavor pairings.

  25. Pingback: Chocolate Cake with Candied Kumquats | East of Eden Cooking

  26. Pingback: Homemade Dog Treats | East of Eden Cooking

  27. Sue says:

    I was searching for something to do with all the rose hips from the very rambunctious rose bush out front, and found this lovely blog. I will be making this tomorrow once I’ve found some bright juicy oranges. Beautiful photos, creative packaging on the marmalade, thank you for this.

  28. Sue says:

    Hi again Deb,

    When you call for 4 cups of Rose hips, do you mean prepared ones or before seeding? Thanks!

    • Deb says:

      Hi Sue, I didn’t have enough rose hips to follow the recipe in Mes Confitures. I measured four cups of rose hips after I trimmed and cleaned them. Your kind comment has prompted me to update the recipe!

  29. Sue says:

    Well that was an adventure, my rose hips were quite soft so needless to say, much more difficult to seed them. I ended up throwing a chopped apple in with them to boost production, had to add a wee bit more orange juice to the cooking oranges as I cut a wee bit too thick, but after alls said and done, it turned out fabulous! I wanted to eat it out of the jar! Thanks again Deb!

  30. Wanda says:

    This is a great recipe and I’m going to try it as soon as I can. I have a couple rose bushes that make hips the size of cherry tomatoes. The trick is beating the deer to them before they eat them all. I have about 2 cups, cut and cleaned. They are simmering on the stove. I’m hoping a crank handled apple peeler/slicer will slice the oranges, as I’m not fond of a mandoline.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *