Unless you live in North West Europe or Asia, you are not likely to come across this bush in your foraging expeditions, but luckily the plant has been introduced recently to the Americas and is gaining popularity for its health benefits, taken either internally or topically. Occasionally it can be found at farmers’ markets in the fall, and all kinds of beauty and medicinal products are appearing in pharmacies and on- line.
I was drawn to it long before I realized how healthful it is – it has a tart flavour and beautiful colour of leaves and berries, so I planted some in my garden five years ago and transplanted it when we moved one year later. The surviving four of the five original plants did not look promising, and I feared I maybe had bought all of the same gender (you need male and female plants). I was really excited when this year the three smaller plants produced an impressive quantity of fruit.
As it is not the easiest thing to pick, I harvested only about half, and so far have frozen some for further use, and used a few to make a Sea Buckthorn infused vinegar. This being my first attempt at using it, except as fresh berries, I wanted to keep it simple, and maximise the use of the few berries I managed to pick. The branches are thorny, and the berries grow so close to the branches that it was a bit of a challenge. Just remember when you see the high prices of the products made from these berries, that might be the reason.
To make the vinegar: Put a handful of berries into a clean mason jar. Cover with organic cider vinegar. Weigh the fruit down so none of the berries is floating on top and exposed to air. I used clean marbles wrapped in cheesecloth. One common method is to put water in a sealed plastic bag, but I did not want to submerge plastic into my pristine vinegar. Leave it in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks. This is particularly good on coleslaw. Sprinkle a few berries right into the salad.
- Sea-buckthorns Trees (lilianausvat.wordpress.com)
- Sea Buckthorn: Himalayan Super Berry (fusionpowerhour.com)
- Sea-buckthorn Berry: Finland’s ‘liquid gold’ being rediscovered (scoopovercake.wordpress.com)