Another grey day, apparently as featureless and dull as yesterday. The winds were blowing chilly from the east-southeast, and I was grateful for both my lined, hooded jacket and hat. Not much sleep last night, and there won’t be much this morning; Jerry and I are headed north to Hackensack, MN, to see a bit of their annual Chainsaw Carving Event, which features chainsaw artists from all over the U.S. We’re also going to pick up Jerry’s chainsaw bear, sculpted by ‘our’ artist Ben.
So even on what seems a day of featureless skies, you can find interesting details to look at. Know what else grey days are good for? Making contrasting colors jump out at you.
Walking back along the ridgeline from the eastern overlook, these lovely reds popped out to say “Hello!” They had to have been developing since high summer, but they weren’t noticeable – at least, not until today.
They’re rosehips, the fruit of the pretty pink wild rose.
Rosehips (sometimes called rose haw or rose hep), grow on the underside of the pollinated flower, and they’re usually red-to-orange. I’ve read that depending on specific species, they can be dark purple to black as well – that’d be a sight, wouldn’t it?
They are edible, and full of Vitamin C – though unless you’re eating the fruit fresh, the vitamin degrades fairly quickly once the fruits are picked. People put rose hips in jams and jellies, applesauce, soups, stews, and dry them out to preserve them for making tea. During World War II, they were harvested wild to make Vitamin C syrup for children, when citrus imports were limited.
But, as always, DON’T go running out to your nearest prairie to harvest them for yourself! Unless you know for certain what identifies them and you’ve seen the rose flower grow into the rosehip, stick with buying them from health stores. Or learn how to grow them! That way you know the variety and quality, and you can know for certain you aren’t going to accidentally poison yourself.