Spicy Rosehip and Beetroot Soup (cooked and raw version)

Fergus Drennan
Monday, 28th October 2013

Fergus Drennan believes a diet of wild foods creates deeper connections with the natural world. Here we can explore nature and forage for rosehips to make one of these warming soups.

This rosehip based soup is one of my favourite autumn and winter warmers. It is also one of only a few soups that I find works equally well, if not better, raw. The chilli pepper creates the heat.

Makes two generous portions.


250g (1 large) chopped onion
250g (½ lb) peeled and sliced raw beetroot
250g (½ lb) whole, frost-softened rosehips
1 large finely sliced clove of garlic
½ chopped green chilli (5g)
3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
A small piece finely chopped fresh ginger (3g/⅛th oz)
900ml (1½ pts) water
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
A large pinch of sea salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper


Method one (cooked)

Gently wash and then boil the rosehips in the water (for 5 minutes if soft, and up to 30 mins if hard). Turn off the heat, mash thoroughly with a potato masher (or blend with a hand-held stick-blender) and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. In the meantime, and using another pan, gently fry the onion, beetroot, chilli, garlic and ginger in the olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Strain the rosehips through a fine cloth, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, and discard the solids. Add the rosehip extraction to the onions and beetroot together with the vegetable stock powder, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar. Simmer for 15 minutes and liquidise to a smooth but still slightly granular consistency. Reheat the soup and serve, swirling in a spoonful of natural yoghurt at the last minute.

Method two (raw) 

Wash the rosehips. Liquidise in 1½ pints cold water. Strain through a fine cloth and discard solids. Leave out the stock (if you're going for 100% raw), adding a touch more sea salt (sun-dried of course) and pepper instead. Blend up all the other ingredients (except yoghurt) with the rosehip extract. Viola, it’s that simple - and delicious! 

Discovering and encouraging a deeper connection through food to the natural world

Mark Wallace asked Fergus about his work, the course and how good food can help us explore a healthier relationship with the world.

What is the main focus of your work?

The main focus of my work seeks to uncover through experiment and research the extent to which wild food plants can be meaningfully incorporated into the modern diet. Meaningful, in this context, means in relation to sustainability, nutrition/medicine, energy return vs expenditure ratios, as well as in relation to general well-being both in physical and more spiritual terms. Ultimately I’m seeking to discover and encourage a deeper connection through food to the natural world, ourselves and others.

Why is this work so important?

On a planet of finite natural resources, with a growing - and in many countries - ageing population, the consequences both in the short and long term of what and how we eat have profound ramifications. An exploration of wild food, and permaculture-based food systems more generally, can reveal infinite abundance in terms of food quality and quantity, given time and applied knowledge. It’s a question of priorities and establishing a proper relationship with the world. Our relationship with food provides unique, universal and endless opportunities to explore those deeper relationships.

What will be covered in the course?

We will explore wild food in both philosophical and practical terms. In the latter case, that will include methods of processing, preparing and storage e.g. lacto-fermenting, as well as doing some dirt time out in the field identifying and collecting fungi and plants.

Further Resources

Watch: How to grow a revolution in your backyard

Food sovereignty: reclaiming our food system

Watch: Re-greening urban food deserts

Watch: Meet the guerrilla fruit tree grafters

For a pocket guide to foraging, check out Food for Free for just £4.99 from our Green Shopping site

OR for an in-depth guide Food for Free by Richard Mabey for just £22.50 on our Green Shopping site