The preserves of Kukkonia

The Rose-Hip Jam of Kukkónia

The rose-hip is a real tiny miracle.  Just think of the burning bush which burst into flame in front of Moses, but did not burn out.  God appeared to Moses as a burning bush and spoke to him.  In Christian culture the rose is symbol of the Christ the Redeemer, and how interesting, the pyracanth is a medicinal plant and herb, which belongs to the rose family. (It is also called “wild rose,” “thorn tree”, “dog bush”,”dog rose”, “tree cursed by god”, “moses bush”, hecsedli). It is considered miraculous not only in religion. This plant that has such a beneficial effect on the human system is made into tea, jam, even wine.

The bright red rose-hips should be picked when they have been nipped by the hoarfrost.  You must take care that the rose-hips are not too soft.  The saying that there is no rose without thorns is perfectly true for the rose-hip.  Gathering it is time-consuming and intricate work, just like processing it.

The secret of the rose-hip jam and rose-hip tea of Kukkónia. After the first frost-bitten yield is picked, the rose-hips are meticulously cleaned by hand and knife.  You have to take care with each one, for although they are small, these are precious berries.  Making rose-hip jam is a long process.  The so-called hecsedlibabok are cleaned, washed several times, then boiled in water.  Then they are passed through a sieve with small holes.  “They should be pressed by hand, but since they are very hot, we press the berries through the strainer with a ladle,” says Magda Sidó in the Várkony orchard.  After they have been passed through the sieve, we cook the jam again, and finally we add sugar.  When it is ready, we fill the jars and steam them.

And so as not to waste anything of the precious rose-hips, they make tea from the seeds and skins that are left in the sieve. True, the rose-hips destined for tea have been dried long ago, or soaked, but it is a long process.  That is why I discovered how to rescue quickly and simply what is destined to make tea.  After having been passed through the sieve the parts that got stuck in the sieve are put into jam jars, we steam them and we bring the so-called rose-hip mass into being. Through this process we get a more delicious taste,” says Imre Bindics, master chef, the father of revolutionary rose-hip mass tea.

 

Caption:  Rose-hips have long been popular for their healthful effects.  They have an unbelievably high vitamin-C content and magnesium.  Furthermore, they strengthen the immune system, relieve stress, help strengthen bones and are outstanding for heart and circulation problems.  This is why there are few kitchens in Csallóköz where there isn’t at least a small jar of rose-hip jam in the pantry.  Although rose-hip jam is the hardest and most time-consuming to make, still it is the most delicious of jams.  Rose-hip jam can be consumed with cakes, toast, breakfast bread and scones.  But it can also be an excellent sauce for meat dishes.