Back in my July 25,2015 post, I discussed some odd jams and preserves I'd tried. Recently, in the Southeast Virginia Kroger, I saw some more odd ones, and couldn't resist. To be technical these were a spread (rose hip), and a butter (plum).
I'd heard the term "rose hip" before, but in the context of an ingredient in vitamins or nutritional supplements. But I wasn't exactly sure what a rose hip was. It turns out that they're the fruit of the rose plant. And they are used for many different culinary creations. They're in herbal teas, syrup, breads, mead, and wine, in addition to the jams/jellies/spreads. The Hungarians made a rose hip flavored brandy, called "palinka," and the Slovenians have a rose hip flavored soft drink called (awkwardly enough, for English speakers), "cockta." Nutritionally they're good sources of Vitamin C (explaining why they're often in vitamin supplements) and also contain beta-carotene. But rose hips have an interesting drawback, too. They contain hairs which are very irritating. So much so that novelty itching powders often use them.
I discussed plums a bit in my hybrid fruit post on May 22, 2015. As a review, their form is incredibly diverse. Their outer skin can be red, purple, amber, green, yellow, or blue-black. Their interior pulp can be orange, pink, green, or yellow. Like rose hips, they're quite nutritious. They contain decent amounts of Vitamins K and C, and also fiber, potassium, and copper. Also, like rose hips, they sometimes used in alcoholic beverages. Serbians make a traditional plum brandy called slivovitz.
But I was most amused by one of the plum's nomenclatures, and why it's changed. The typical name for a dried plum has been "prune" for a long time. However, plum sellers grew concerned that this name had negative connotations. Specifically, prunes are seen as synonymous with wrinkles, old age, and constipation (they combat this condition very effectively). So the preferred term is now "dried plums," and not prunes. So adjust all your conversations and correspondence about this dried fruit accordingly, lest Big Plum find out and set you straight.
Anyway, back to the actual food. Both were made by Maintal, a German company. Each was sold in a 12 ounce jar, and cost about $3-4. The plum one was a reddish-purple in color. And it wasn't very sweet. It was alright, but not as good as most jams/jellies/butters/spreads. Not really tasty, nor dramatically terrible. Just kind of "meh," as the expression goes. Sadly the rose hip one was fairly similar. It was reddish in color. It also was not very sweet, and not that interesting or exciting, in a positive or negative way. I could basically take it or leave it. Some of my friends at work expressed interest, so I gave them the remaining six ounces or so of both jars.
So for both, I like the fact that the manufacturers tried some different fruits for the flavoring, but the end result was drably mediocre. In a way I almost wish that they were utterly putrid--at least I would have felt some passion for them.