My hands at the moment have become like an artists palette, stained in orange and purples from my recent foraging journeys. A faint whiff of cider impaled into my pores from my most recent discovery – sea buckthorn.
I was introduced to this lesser known berry from a faint echo of a memory from an old river cottage episode and then re-elightened from a visit to a lovely restaurant in falmouth where i had sea buckthorn sorbet for my desert – so wow this is what t tasted like! If any of you read my former blog piece on yuzu you will know that i am a big fan of all variations of citrus flavours and sea buckthorn is no exception.
It looks like this;
They are not for eating straight from the branch as they are very tart and acidic but a slight sweetening with sugar or apple or grape juice will open up the flavour – its both sweet and sour and full with flavour all at the same time – think a small explosion of seville oranges – in fact they look like small seville oranges for minituarised people! The main assault on the senses comes from malic acid, the eye-watering organic acid used to flavour “extreme candy” beloved of 10-year-olds
I just love the flavour and the colour and the fact that i can forage for them in beautiful landscapes but on further research i discovered that they are hailed in the superfood catergory. So here are some things i discovered about sea buckthorn:
– The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content – in a range of 114 to 1550 mg per 100 grams with an average content (695 mg per 100 grams) about 15 times greater than oranges (45 mg per 100 grams) – placing seabuckthorn fruit among the most enriched plant sources of vitamin C.
– Seabuckthorn oil has a natural sun protective power and is most useful as a healing oil for any kind of burn. It was used after the disaster at Chernobyl to heal radiation burns.
– A study by the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and the Indian Institute of technology discovered that sea buckthorn berries contain a potent mixture of vitamin A, K, E, C, B1 and B2 vitamins. They also found high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, folic acid and flavonoids.
Here are some pictures from my foraging trip:
So what can you do with sea buckthorn? I started thinking about christmas and have made a sea buckthorn vodka…simply by washing the berries, throwing them in some vodka along with a little sugar and am going to leave it for a few months, just like making sloe gin really…
But the next batch (which are sitting in the freezer waiting) I am going to cook down over some heat, strain through some muslin and then add some sugar to, to make a cordial / syrup which i will cook all sorts of goodies with in the future…cheescakes, sorbets, salad dressings, a sauce for fish etc. Here are some links to recipes I Have found: (click on the pics to go to the recipes)
Sea buckthorn (seaberry) sorbet (also contains lots of other ideas around sea buckthorn)
Sea buckthorn curd meringue with yoghurt sorbet and wholemeal shortbread – Nathan Outlaw
Sea Buckthorn Cheesecake with Ameretto- from Nami Nami’s great food blog
Sea Buckthorn Fizz – from River Cottage
Cardamom Panna Cotta with Sea Buckthorn and Apricot Sauce
Sea Buckthorn Truffles
There’s so much more to discover about sea buckthorn, look it up on google and you’ll discover a whole universe. Apparently Ghenghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, one of the largest empires in the 13th century, relied on three treasures: well organized armies, strict discipline and seabuckthorn. It was believed that seabuckthorn oil made Ghenghis Khan’s soldiers stronger and much more agile than those of his enemies.
I’m off now..have had a quick lesson in seaweeds and am off to experiment, so look out for my next post I’m sure it will have some seaweed revelations!
Keri – Humble Cottage