Well, a couple of weeks ago it so happened that our son would be at home to look after the animals so we hit the road. We headed for Brier Island, one of our favorite spots in Nova Scotia. It takes about one and a half hours, including two short ferry crossings, to be on a small island stuck out in the Bay of Fundy.
We parked on the remote headland where our only neighbours were the seals moaning on the rocks and the gulls diving for their dinner. From there we walked the coastal paths and watched the sun setting over the beach.
But just in case you think that we had forgotten our gardens at home we also collected several bags of seaweed to bring home on the roof rack. We shall wash the salt from it and dry it in the sun, ready to use next spring as a broad spectrum fertilizer, rich in beneficial trace minerals and hormones that stimulate plant growth.
- 5 cups rose hips, stems and flower remnants trimmed off.
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 to 3 large lemons)
- 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- Place the cleaned and trimmed rose hips and the water into a large stainless steel pan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook at a gentle simmer for 20 minutes, remove from the heat and let stand, covered, overnight.
- The next day, strain through a jelly bag. Lightly press to get all the pulp and juices through the strainer. Rose hips have seeds that are itchy and irritating, so if you scrape the bottom of the strainer occasionally to remove pulp, be certain to use a different spoon from the pulp-pressing one. You don’t want the hairs in the jelly. You should have approximately 3 cups of pulp and liquid a beautiful rust-orange colour. If you’re short of 3 cups, add enough water to bring it to 3 cups.
- Place the pulp and juice mixture into a large stainless steel pan. Add the sugar and lemon juice, stir to combine, and then cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until a candy or oil thermometer registers 220 degrees. This will take between 15 to 20 minutes at medium-high heat.
- Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars, and seal.