In order to growing food frugally, it’s important to think about how much the inputs are costing you versus the benefits you are receiving. For me, the cost/benefit ratio of buying organic food in a supermarket has never been high enough to justify doing so.
Among the investments I’m making this year to the edible landscaping are old fashioned roses that have the added benefit of producing hips. Rose hips were used in England during world war II as a source of vitamin C. Oranges and lemons were difficult to find or afford during the war years. I’ve read that boy scouts were asked by the government to collected rose hips to be made into a syrup which was bottled and used medicinally.
The current recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C for men is 90 mg per day and for women: 75 mg per day. Your body can’t store vitamin C so it’s important to ingest some every day. According to the NYTimes, this important vitamin is needed :
… to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
I’m looking at ordering “Dortmund” or “Hansa” roses to scramble up my trellis and shade my house in the summer. Their rose hips, with between 1700 to 2000 mgs.of vitamin C, outpace citrus fruits in terms of vitamin C production. Hips also contain vitamins A, D and E, anti-oxidents and flavinoids.
Here is some further information from the American Rose Society regarding the healthful hips:
“Fresh hips from R. canina were used as a diuretic, as a coolant, and a mild astringent. Both leaves and hips were used for infusions or tea. The hips from R. pomifera were made into preserves and also into a drink. It was very popular in certain areas of Austria and Bavaria. R. roxburghii hips were used by the Chinese to aid against indigestion and the Ainu in Japan ate the hips of R. rugosa.”
My plan is to use the hips in tea in the winter to give us a boost in vitamin C—thus keeping us healthier and keeping us warmer while we set our thermostat lower.
If you try this at home: please remember to check that harmful sprays were not used on the roses. Since I garden organically, this is not a problem.
In sum, I hope to have most of our nutritional needs provided for on the property before we retire. That’s my little bit of insurance and reassurance come what may. One of the best ways to be frugal is to be healthy.