Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rose hips and herb nerds with brown paper bags

Photo of rose hips by Audreyjm529, Flickr Creative Commons License.

Today I've been collecting sun-softened, ripe rose hips into a brown paper bag that I begged off a counter-person at Rainbow Naturals, an apothecary that mixes its own herbs on Capitol Hill in Seattle. When I asked her for somewhere to transfer my bristly handful of rose hips, each the beating color of internal organs, she rustled out the bag and said in an undertone, "We're all herb nerds here, so I understand."

It was good. I wonder what Rainbow Naturals does with their rose hips, and I'll have to ask.

Meanwhile, I have a brown lunch bag lined with their rosy rounded forms, each with its autumnal, prickly leaf-stem. Lovely, what a dying rose leaves behind. If this is recycling, then I like it.

I'd always seen the bright orange hips, seemingly in such abundance on bare fall shrubs. But I never knew that they were things that ripened, that grew soft and tore at the edge when unhinged from the stem, so that each tear resembles a gash in a tomato.

So far, I'm just peeping at them proprietarily every so often. Tonight I'll settle on whether to make jelly, puree, chutney -- or even rose hip and vegetable curry.

What do you think?