The abundance of the autumn season is a delight. October lunch consists of a stroll to the orchard to pick a ripe apple. Can fruit be any fresher than straight from the tree? The cooler weather ensures it is crisp and cool to the bite. I enjoy it while taking a daily walk through the village, and remind myself to remember the joy of walking past blushing trees with a cider-sweet apple. The days of winter cold that will limit walks are coming soon.
The pear tree in the orchard is so heavy with fruit, we culled the branches to ease the weight. In my mind’s eye, I see a mound of golden pears in a wooden bowl, punctuated with sprigs of orange-red rose hips. The hips are also ripe and would lend themselves to the fruit so well.
Only certain roses produce the large red hips in the fall. I am fortunate to have two large bushes that provide a harvest. When they turn reddish, I begin cutting them in graceful swags and delight in tucking them into baskets and vases for inside autumn glory. The hips will slowly dry to a mahogany dark red. Both the pears and hips are excellent botanical elements for arrangements as they keep their firm shapes for long periods of time. I may heap these two fragrant fruits together for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Meanwhile, they will “keep” in the cool confines of our basement, which just happens to be the poured concrete lower level of our barn home. It is the closest thing we have to a modern root cellar.
HEALTH NOTE: Did you know that rose hips are the ingredient in many Vitamin C supplements? Check the label–it is not citrus but rose hips that are listed. Each hip is the equivalent of several oranges in vitamin potency. Tea with rose hips is lemony in flavor. Dry and crush hips and steep for lemony-tasting vitamin-rich tea. The hips are also filled with seeds, which fall and sprout more rose bushes. I have shared many baby plants with friends who want to harvest rose hips in the fall.
Autumn is quickly running its cycle. Catch it before it slips away.