I’m sorry I’ve been MIA, readers. Under the weather would be an understatement. Last Monday, I came down with a little sore throat that turned into a full-blown head and chest cold Of the Ages. I’m still coughing — and thus, have been steering clear of my normal haunts: butter, cheese and cream.

All I have to blog about today,mes amis, is rose hip tea.

Last night we went to Tex’s to meet up before going out for Hugh’s birthday. Tex’s rose bushes, which were full last spring, were in need of some pruning and loaded with rose hips. I gathered them in a Trader Joe’s bag and brought home to conjure a curative tea. Tea that would make me well. Tea that would take me past this nightmare of grossness and coughing all day. Tea that would stop the embarrassment of being physically weak.

The thing is that rose hips have been used for many ages for their medicinal qualities. I’ve even heard that there are beauty potions you can make with them too. But the only thing I’ve ever done with them is to make tea (they’ve got significantly more vitamin C than oranges and other “phytonutrients” I guess.)

Anyway, here is how you do it. It’s really delicious sweetened but I like it straight.

Take about 15 rose hips. Rose hips, by the way, are the seed pods that form on your bushes if you don’t dead head the roses. Harvest them when they are deep orange or red. Now, with a sharp knife, cut the stems and the flower ends off of the rose hips and wash them well. Chop finely or, as I do, throw them in a food processor. I add 7-8 leaves of lemon verbena from the garden, but it’s not necessary. I always think that lemon zest or tangerine would be great with rose hips…let me know if you’ve done this and if it works.

Now, chop it all up and add to a pot (not aluminum. can’t say I know why. someone told me that it chemically messes with the tea) filled with 7 cups of distilled water. Bring almost to a boil, covered. It will be steaming.

Pour through a fine mesh sieve to strain the hips and seeds.

Drink sweetened with sugar or molassas or plain.

Can’t hurt.