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Waving at passers-by a tradition in Alaska; rose hips are in season

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Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:19 am | Updated: 1:03 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

FAIRBANKS — Q: I was recently staying with friends in a rural area of Alaska. Every time we went down the road and passed somebody, my friend would wave. What’s up?

A: The further you get from the bigger cities, the more country graces still apply. In my neck of the woods, it is common to wave at people until I hit the pavement and get closer to town. This “waving policy” applies to friends, neighbors and strangers alike. If they’re on my single lane dirt road, or somewhere in the close vicinity, I wave.

And that brings me to one of my personal gripes in life: non-wavers. If you ask my friends about this, they’ll chuckle because they’ve heard me discuss (rant about) this before. If I pass someone either in a car or walking or biking down the road and they look right at me and see me wave but choose not to respond, I take it as a personal insult, whether imagined or real. I know this is silly, but it really gets me steamed. Then I get on this personal vendetta to get this person to wave when I see them again, smiling with my teeth gritted and my hand waving or a finger or two off the steering wheel muttering something along the lines of “Oh, you better wave this time!” under my breath. They mostly still don’t wave, but I feel better for making the effort.

Don’t be afraid to show a little kindness (or let off some steam) with a wave. Try it in your neighborhood this week and see what happens!

Q: Any ideas of what to do with all the rose hips this year? They seem to be plentiful but I have no idea what to use them for. Thanks.

A: Rose hips. If you ask my husband he’d say I talk about rose hips every year, pick rose hips every year, dry rose hips every year, and then do nothing with them. This is not true. He does not know about my secret “magic rose hip powder” I’ve been putting in his coffee for years which makes him talk crazy.

Back to the subject.

I love to harvest wild edibles, and the rose hip is no exception. This year, besides my magic rose hip powder (Ladies — highly recommended by the way) I plan to try the following recipes I found in one of my favorite cookbooks; Cooking Alaskan.

Kodiak Rose Hip Tea

By Ann Chandonnet

1 tea bag

1 tbsp dried rose hips

3 or 4 whole cloves

Sugar or honey to taste

1 cup boiling water

Steep tea bag, rose hips and cloves in boiling water for five minutes. Remove hips and cloves. Sweeten to taste.

Rose Hip Candy

By Janet Woodring

Harvest rose hips. Remove the seed from each rose hip with a small coffee spoon or pointed knife.

For each 1 cup rose hips, dissolve 1/3 cup sugar in 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp water. Add rose hips to the sugar-water and cook over medium heat. Be sure all hips are coated on the inside. Cook until rose hips are just about to burn, about 5-10 min. Remove hips quickly from pan- but individually, if you can- dropping each onto a sheet of waxed paper that is covered with granulated sugar. (Use two forks for this process.) Separate any nested hips. Sprinkle sugar over them, then roll in the sugar until the hips are well coated on all sides. While they are drying, break off any hard bits of sugar. Add more sugar and toss the hips gently with two forks. Store in a glass jar.

It is not advisable to try more than 1-1/2 cups rose hips at one time. For that amount, use 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. It is best to have the hips only one layer deep in the pan to avoid nesting hips. Also, the syrup thickens fast while you are removing the hips from the pan.

I’m going to try this. Really. I’ll let you know next time how it turns out.

Brookelyn Bellinger is an independent filmmaker from Delta Junction, and author of the book “The Frozen Toe Guide to Real Alaskan Livin’.” Send your questions to brookelynbellinger@hotmail.com.

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