Sweetened or unsweetened rose-hip puree is used in many Finnish desserts, sauces and beverages or eaten on toast, with porridges, pancakes, quark, viili, yogurt or other milk products.
A sweet dessert popular among children in the old times was peeled bananas served with sweetened rose-hip puree and whipped cream.
As good-quality and natural, unadulterated rose-hip puree, usually sold frozen, has become harder to find even in well-equipped Finnish grocery stores, I opted to make my own, using store-bought dried rose-hips.
Of course the puree can also be made of fresh, ripe rose-hips by cooking or softening them in boiling water, pounding and mashing them and pushing through a sieve.
Note that instead of natural rose-hip puree, many Finnish recipes instruct on using commercially made bottled baby food rose-hip puree products, which taste horrible and have no resemblance to the real thing. They usually contain cheaper ingredients, like apple, pear, etc, used as substitution to rose-hips, and other unnecessary additives.
Needless to say, the baby food products should never be used to replace natural rose-hip puree in cooking (nor be fed to babies either, for that matter :-)
200 ml dried rose-hips
about 300 ml fresh, cold water
(sugar for quantity, see the instructions below)
Place the rose-hips in a colander and pick out any possible loose pieces of woody stems or other debris.
Rinse the rose-hips under cold running water, drain and pour in a bowl. Add the water, cover the bowl with plastic and place in refrigerator overnight, until the rose-hips have swollen and softened (see the pictures below, showing a small amount of rose-hips before and after soaking).
Dry rose-hips placed
to soak in water
Reconstituted, softened rose-hips
Puree the softened rose-hips using a food mill or push them through a fine but sturdy sieve. Any seeds or other debris will be left behind in the sieve.
Unsweetened rose-hip puree has a rather strong, earthy flavour, which goes well with savoury foods, like sauces served with meat and game birds. When used in sweet dishes, the puree is usually always sweetened. To sweeten the puree, add about 10 to 15 grams of sugar for every 100 millilitres of puree.
Stir in the sugar, until it has dissolved. If the puree is too thick, you can add some more water.
You can also heat the puree until boiling, especially if it will be consumed by children, the elderly or anyone with impaired resistance, to be on the safe side.
Sweetened or unsweetened, the puree keeps best frozen. It is practical to freeze the sauce in small portions, for example using ice cube trays.
Let the puree thaw in refrigerator before serving or adding to various desserts or dishes.
If mixed with hot dishes, like sauces or a bowl of piping hot porridge, the sauce may be added frozen.
Makes about 250 millilitres of unsweetened puree.
See recipes for sweet rose-hip dip, rose-hip soup or rose-hip crêpes.