Using a blender

This is for those of you who use blenders to remove seeds from the hips. How do you separate the seeds from the mush that results after blending?

I look forward to reading answers to this question! The one time I used a blender, I got a bucket of seeds mixed with mushy fibre that couldn’t be separated out without me sitting there for hours sifting through it. Surely this isn’t how it works for everyone!

Joe Winchel was a leading advocate of the blender method. It worked for him and the varieties he used. For me, it yielded a lot of frustration of the sort that Paul describes, and germination was not good either–for whatever reason. Probably the important thing is to have the hips at the right stage–and to have the right varieties. I am also guessing that the really fibrous varieties are not good candidates for this method, but I wasted enough time in my first experience, and I do not plan to use this method again just to find out which varieties are good candidates.

My method is described at:


Whew. Sounds like more work than hand cleaning.

One thing I did learn: If you blend the mix for a longer period, the pulp becomes small enough to push thru a sieve with a pestle and the seeds remain in the sieve. Of course, the condition of the seeds is questionable.

Still a lot of work…

On the other hand, I won’t cut myself with the sharp knife using the blender…


To save tomato seeds, you seperate the seeds and the geletine pulp and leave it in an equal amount of water. Let it fermintate for several days.

Then you just throw it into a seive, run it through water-- and tada-- tomato seeds, seperated from its geletinous mess.

Perhaps this method could be used for rose hips-- fermintate the rose pulp away.

The seed coat should be strong enough to not rot away.

Hmm, I doubt that the fibrous stuff would ferment that quickly. I’ve left the seeds in bromelain for four days and it barely makes a dent.

I helped Joe process seeds one year and the seeds had been in the hips for a while after harvesting before putting them into the blender. Most were very soft, some were even rotted. Be sure to clip the peduncle off at the base of the hip at the time of harvest. By the time the blender was done there was very little left. We had a coffee can that we sat on a wire mesh and then dumped the mixture into the can. Then we took a garden hose with a pressure nozzle on the end and blasted the seeds inside the can. Some were lost but Joe was not concerned and expained that most of the ones lost were probably either broken pieces that were no good anyway or too small to be viable. In the end the seeds were totally clean. Rather than fermenting them in water, leave them in the hip longer, after harvest, (until the hip starts to rot). I don’t know if he changed his process after the time I helped him or if he had a different method prior to then but that’s what we did. Joe was ALWAYS looking for ways to do things better, faster or easier.

Well… I expect this cross is the best method if you have many hips.

But for small time hybridizers such as myself, it isn’t possible to discard so many seeds in a single process.

I don’t make many crosses. I only make up to a handful at best.

Hmm, that is wierd. I thought less ripe hips germinate better. And - leaving them rot? Most of the time they don’t rot, they just get hard. I’m confused now.

If the hips are picked green and kept sealed in a plastic baggie, they will rot(some of mine did). If they are stored with good air circulation a few in a small paper bag they seem to ripen and dry out if left in a warm dry environment. I use the small lunch sacks from Wal-Mart and keep the green hips in an old refrigerator that is not frost free and they seem to keep well for a month or so. Just my experience. I have spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun in past years modifying a blender and have never happy with the results.

Good Luck


So is that the way you process the seeds? Let them rot and then blend them, Robert?


I also got to help Joe Winchel blend his hips one day and would describe the process as John Sheldon has. He did make a point to cut off a portion of the hip next to the peduncle which I believe cut down on the fibrous material. I copied his method for a couple of years but used a strainer and a 1 gallon pot with the end cut out of it. The seeds were put in the pot, the pot in the strainer and all of this directed into a larger bucket. I then used a hose with a sprayer attached and shot the pulp through the strainer. Only the cleaned seeds would be left behind.

Certain varieties can take that abuse, while others cannot. ‘Lynn Anderson’ still gave me good germination, while ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ germination dropped to almost ZERO!

Several years ago I stopped using the blender method and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wouldn’t be willing to lose many viable seeds.

Jim Sproul

My brain and my fingers don’t always work at the same speed. Let me try to restate my comments above to clarify my meaning.

When some of my hips rotted in plastic bags it was an accident. I don’t think I ran those seeds through the blender. In past years I spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun modifying two different blenders and experimenting with different screens. I usually ended up with a gooey mess and was never able to create a time saving method that did not damage seeds. The gooey mess is easier to separate after it dries, but David Zlesak’s recent research encouraged me to not dry the seeds. I probably saved some time when I cleaned some wild multiflora seed to give away, but all in all I was never happy with the results. I never used the blender on hips that resulted from my crosses. I gave up on the blenders and went back to the drawing board. The blender may work fine for some, but I was never happy with my results.


Thanks for your comments, guys. It does support my experiences with the blender. A mess and more trouble than it’s worth most of the time, but I guess I’ll still use it when I have large quantities of open pollinated hips when I don’t care about losing seeds.

Judith, one other consideration, if it is important to you. If you are processing ‘OP’ seeds and want to assess germination, you may still want to do a smaller lot to get an accurate germination rate.

Jim Sproul

I use a little dentist tool thingy (my brother bought it for me!) that helps me split hips with the sharp side. The other side is a little pick that helps me pop out the seeds. I assume you do about as many as I do Judith… although it still does require patience. Its kinda fun tho cause it allows me down “discover” each hip so Im likely to remember what excels at seed setting and what doesnt (this years winner was Midas Touch by far).

Okay, okay. So its not as fun as a blender. But it is “the right tool for the job.”

Jadae, I average about 10,000 seeds per season and use a dull paring knife and that works fine, but my fingers start to hurt after a while! I would never use the blender in any case if I was dealing with a good cross, but those open pollinated hips with hundreds of small seeds make me crazy! Perhaps I shouldn’t even be dealing with them, but I find it fun to see what they produce.

10k wow lol. By average this year (I dont have my final count yet) Im at about 4.5k seeds (man they add up fast). I do recommend the little tool I have though-- at least the pick side. It pop seeds out like butter! Im droppeding down to 20 crosses next year. There is no way I can do a lot and get through grad school haha.

If you are concerned about the blades damaging the seeds, wrap the blades with Duct tape.

The blender worked well for Joe because in his later years he mixed all of his pollen together and processed his hips in large batches without concern for parentage. (He was working with a closed gene pool)

Jim did Joe have the little built on “greenhouse” off the back of his house beside his kitchen door where he processed the seeds when you helped him? He was always willing to help anyone interested in growing roses.

Joe’s favorite comment when asked about producing a good rose was, “Numbers are your Friend” and then he’d laugh.