Wild Caucasian Rosehip

Rosehip is a perennial bush plants belonging to the genus Rosa in the Rosaceae family, which grows spontaneously in the alluvial plain of the Girdimanchay river and in the riparian forests of the district of Ismayilli, in the north-eastern part of the country. The genus Rosa includes numerous specie: more than 300 are registered worldwide, of which 42 can be found in Azerbaijan. 

Caucasian wild rosehip plants grow wild up to 2 meters as bush and need no management during their life, which can last 20, 25 years. The flowers, both light and dark pink in color with a fragrant texture, blossom around mid-may. The fruits are rather small red berries of an oval form. The pulp has a very high content of vitamin C, which increases during maturation, but it cannot be eaten raw due to the presence of tiny hairs. Harvesting starts in autumn, in late September – beginning of October, and it is scalar. The plants are located in state-owned forests and there is no title of ownership. The harvesters do not use invasive techniques because they know that it is a fundamental source of sustenance for the benefit of the entire community: they must respect the health of the plants and the preservation of the mountain and forest landscape.

The wild rosehip’s products are strictly embedded into the Azerbaijan rural population of the Caucasian mountains since ever. The traditional knowledge connected to these preparations has been passed along over generation, preserving these nutritious sources of food from the extinction. Due to this characteristic, the products were never marketed but mainly used for families owns consumption. Nowadays, due to depopulation of the mountain areas and lack of youth, the knowledge connected with this wild species is at high risk of disappearing. The Slow Food Presidium has been created with the specific aim of safeguarding this knowledge, involving new people especially young from the community both in harvesting and in the production process. The Presidium will work on one side to better the visibility and communication of the products, and on the other side to on the marketing strategy, in order to reach new selling channels than the ones at a very local level. The main pillar of the production protocol signed by producers establishes the full adherence to the traditional production techniques of harvesting and processing.