We went for a walk down the riverbank, where I spotted a load of wild rose bushes all with hips on them. I've been thinking about rose hips for a while, they're mentioned in a couple of the books I have as really good sources of vitamin C and Alys Fowler's book says you can make tea from them. I try my best not to buy any imported fruit and veg, but during the winter it's hard not to, so I thought I'd try out this way of getting some extra, homegrown vitamin C (I'd really like to have a go at making rose hip syrup like they did in the war, but I didn't pick enough hips). Having returned home and calmed down a bit from the rose hip picking mania, I did some research and found out that it's really a bit too early to pick rose hips - you should wait until after the first frost, but I can't waste the ones I've picked now, I'm going to make tea with them!
Firstly, I found this conversation on a gardening web-forum useful when I was having a mild panic about the possibility of poisoning myself from poisonous rose hips!
I wanted to dry my rose hips whole, but didn't know if this would work and spent ages trying to find somewhere that would tell me - eventually I found this site, which told me it was fine. So I washed the rose hips in some salty water (I think this kills bugs or something, my mum always says to do it!), got rid of the stalks and flower heads, then whacked them onto my dehydrator and away we went.
Now they're safely stored away in a jar. I'll have to experiment with the tea making, but from what I've read I think if I boil a couple of hips in a saucepan of water for 5-10 minutes I should get tea!
I also picked a lot of chillies of my plants, too many to use straight away, so they went into the dehydrator too. I wish I had worn gloves to chop my chillies up, my hands are sooo sore, they feel like they're burning and I haven't touched a chili for hours! I've washed them with soap, alcohol (gin!), salt, oil and lemon, and they're still burning. :( Once they were dried I popped them in a jar, later I can either crush them with my pestle and mortar to make chili flakes or drop them whole into stews and things.
I also peeled all the garlic I'd grown and put them in a jar, jar in the freezer, it seemed the simplest way and it seems to have worked, although I haven't used them from frozen yet so we'll see then!