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Rosehip and Apple Jelly Recipe

Rosehips in our garden

Rosehips in our garden

Rosehips are ripening and perfect for picking now. Some people wait until after the first frost, when the rosehips will be soft. We start picking from the first week in September. They need to cook for longer but we know that they’re really fresh. They’re high in vitamin C and a great asset for the self sufficient smallholder. As a child, I remember my Mother giving us rosehip syrup (a dessert spoon daily). It was rather good. Nowadays, we make apple and rosehip jelly.

The rosehip flavour combines well with the apple. This is a delicate jelly with a fuller taste than plain apple jelly; good with toast for breakfast and excellent served with chicken, pork or a mild cheese.

Incidentally, I recently heard that rosehip concoctions are good for sore throats. Perhaps we should all toy with a spoonful when we’re next in bed with a bug.

Rosehip and Apple Jelly recipe




  • 2 lb/900g rosehips
  • 4 lb/1800g of sweet eating apples. We use windfalls as they won’t keep
  • Zest of half a lemon (add to the apples)
  • Juice of half a lemon (strained). Half a medium lemon equates to one tablespoon of juice.
  • Sugar – 1pt/600ml of strained juice to 1lb/454g of white granulated sugar
  • This recipe makes 14 half pound jars. So adjust accordingly.

As the rosehips can take longer than the apple to soften I always cook them separately. In this way both are cooked for their individual optimum time. I cook the rosehips on one evening, straining it overnight, and then cook the apples on the next evening. The juice will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, in covered containers. Split over three evenings, the jelly is not a palaver and can be easily fitted into a busy routine.


  1. Remove stalks from the rosehips and place in a large pan. Don’t use an iron or aluminium pan as this will strip away the vitamin C. A large glass or enamelled saucepan is ideal. I use a large non stick, stainless steel stock pot or Maslin pan. Barely cover the hips with water and bring to the boil and simmer gently until the hips are soft. This can take quite a while if the hips are still firm (when I was making this jelly, the hips took a good hour and a half to soften). Keep an eye on them, stirring from time to time. Top up with water if necessary. (I mashed them gently with a plastic potato masher to hurry them along). If you are using my three evening method, strain the rosehips through sterilised muslin (see points 3 and 4 below)
  2. Wash the apples, cut out bad bits and chop roughly. There is no need to peel or core the apples. Add water to cover of the fruit – they should just be floating. Add the lemon zest. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer very gently until all the fruit is soft and squishy. (This can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how ripe the fruit is.)
  3. Pour the cooked fruit through sterilised muslin into a large clean bucket or bowl (how do I sterilise muslin/the jelly bag? See tips and tricks below). The muslin is often referred to as a “jelly bag”. We use tall buckets to catch the drips from the jelly bags. Rather than hang the bags (conventional method-between the legs of an upturned stool) I find it easier to line a large plastic sieve with the muslin. This clips neatly onto the top of a clean bucket. The sieve is covered with a clean tea cloth to protect against flies.
  4. Leave the jelly bag to drip overnight (or about 12 hours).
  5. Measure the juice the next day.
  6. Pour the juice into a deep heavy bottomed saucepan and add 1lb/454g of white granulated sugar for each 1pt/570ml of juice.
  7. Add the lemon juice.
  8. Heat the juice and sugar gently stirring from time to time, so as to make sure that that all the sugar has dissolved before bringing the liquid slowly to the boil.
  9. As there are apples (high in pectin) in this recipe only continue to boil for about 10 minutes before testing for a set. This is called a rolling boil. Test every 3 to 5 minutes until setting point is reached. (What is testing for a set? See tips and tricks below).
  10. Tossing in a nugget of butter towards the end will reduce the frothing that can occur.
  11. When jelly has reached setting point pour into warm sterilised jars using a funnel and ladle. (How do I sterilise jars? See tips and tricks below).
  12. Cover immediately with plastic lined screw top lids or waxed disks and cellophane tops secured with a rubber band.
  13. If you don’t think that the jelly has set properly, you can reboil jelly the next day. The boiling reduces the water in the jelly. I have done this in the past. Ideally you should try for the right set the first time.
  14. Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place. Away from damp.

Tips and tricks:

  • What is a jelly bag?
    A jelly bag is traditionally a piece of muslin but it can be cheesecloth, an old thin tea cloth or even a pillowcase. The piece needs to be about 18 inches square. When your fruit is cooked and ready to be put in the jelly bag, lay your cloth over a large bowl. Pour the fruit into the centre of the cloth and tie the four corners together so that they can be slung on a stick to drip over the bowl. Traditionally a stool is turned upside down, the stick is rested on the wood between the legs and the jelly bag hangs over the bowl. We experimented and now line a sieve with muslin, place it over a bucket and cover the lot with clean tea cloths (against the flies).
  • How do I sterilise muslin/the jelly bag?
    Iron the clean jelly bag with a hot iron. This method will also sterilise tea cloths.
  • Jelly “set” or “setting point”?
    Getting the right set can be tricky. I have tried using a jam thermometer but find it easier to use the following method.
    Before you start to make the jelly, put a couple of plates in the fridge so that the warm jam can be drizzled onto a cold plate (when we make jam we often forget to return the plate to the fridge between tests, using two plates means that you have a spare cold plate). Return the plate to the fridge to cool for approx two minutes. It has set when you run your finger through it and leave a crinkly track mark. If after two minutes the cooled jam is too liquid, continue to boil the jelly, testing it every few minutes until you have the right set. The jelly is far more delicious if it is slightly runny. It does get firmer after a few months.
  • How do I sterilise the jars and lids?
    We collect jars all year round for our jelly, chutney and jam making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we use is simple. Just before making the jam, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan-assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.

  Leave a reply


  1. Louise W

    Hello, I attempted your lovely rosehip and apple jelly unfortunately it won’t set. I have definitely boiled it for long enough, but I did use less sugar, as I’m at the end of a long of jam making and had found the previous jars a little sweet! Do you think I will be able to re heat with a little extra sugar to get the set. Or am I left with a yummy syrup but no jelly? Thanks L

  2. Jules – you don’t sieve the apples. Fiona was just suggesting that one way to let juice run through was to line a sieve with muslin and suspend that over a pan. You then put all your cooked fruit into this and it will drip through into the pan. The other alternative is to buy a jelly kit but really you don’t need to unless you intend to do a lot of jelly making. The piece of muslin must be sterile – so boil it up before using it and pour scolding hot water over it as well. It stops all the bits and hairs from rose hips going into your jelly. I wouldn’t worry if it is a bit cloudy – it’s the taste that matters. Hope this helps.

  3. It says in one recipe that I used that you shouldn’t squeeze the jelly bag or your jelly will be cloudy, but it is cloudy anyway because I don’t see how you gave sieve pulpy apples and have a clear jelly. Would appreciate any advice as I am very disappointed with the results.

  4. The Little Green Hen

    Hi, wish I had found this recipe first but not sure if this site is still active? I have just tried to make rosehip and apple jelly using the latest Good Food magazine recipe but am not sure it has all gone according to plan! I simmered the hips for 60 mins (last 15 mins with the apples & lemon peel) but they were quite hard (picked today) and most are still whole. The juice is still draining but I was wondering if I should rinse off the hips tomorrow morning and simmer them in the same juice for another 30 mins? Not sure I really got anything out of the rosehips and it took us ages to find just 750g. Really don’t want to waste it, any advice would be great, thanks

  5. mauramac

    Hi Linda it is lovely isn’t it but I sell my jellies and jams to raise funds for local dog rescues so I need a good set. Do you mash up or chops your hips prior to cooking or leave them whole? Was hoping for an answer from Fiona but not sure she replies any more as my original question was in 2011 🙁
    The hairs of the rose hip are an irritant and used to make itching powder at one time so I wouldn’t try making jam with the pulp unless you can find a way to filter those out!

  6. Linda Darlow

    If your jelly (which I love on hot crumpets) comes out very soft or even runny don’t worry. It tastes absolutely heavenly poured over vanilla ice-cream. Naughty but oh so nice !!

  7. liam cahill

    Just about to start,why do I feel that throwing out all that lovely”mash”
    is such a waste,maybe i will just make jam!!

  8. wildcraft diva

    Included a link to this post, hope that’s ok. Thank’s for sharing 🙂

  9. My recipe book says to put rose hips in the freezer to simulate frost. I’ve done this and it does soften them well. will reduce cooking time.

    • mauramac

      Thanks for your input – another question I have is this.
      Somewhere i read that you should either chop the hips or put them through a processor before cooking has anyone any experience of doing this and did it improve the end result in any way?
      Fiona….have you used your steamer to produce the rose hip juice and if so did you do it with the apples or seperately? I ask this because I steamed a small amount of hips from garden wild roses yesterday (only about 1.5 lbs) and was very disappointed to see a very small amount of juice which was a horrid browny colour. Last year I steamed hips and apples together and got lovely result but now I’m wondering what is the natural colour of rose hip juice.

  10. mauramac

    Have just picked 2lbs rose hips in order to make our 2nd batch of rose hip jelly (friends and neighbours asking for it)but I am a little bit worried as these rose hips are not all bright red – some are bit darker and a few are quite sqishy. I collected them from bushes in a local park which I have discovered has hundreds of bushes and brambles loaded with berries. I will be steaming the rose hips with windfall apples (after freezing them for a while). Will the softer and darker hips be ok to use?

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