Have you ever heard of sea buckthorn before? Also called the “lemon of the north,” these small orange berries are true vitamin boosters.
They are packed with healthy ingredients for your body and your skin.
The rare fruit is also perfectly able to enrich your drinks, desserts, cakes, lotions or body oils.
Growing Habits and Cultivation
While the sea buckthorn plant bursts into bloom with small yellow flowers in April, the bright berries ripen between August and December.
They grow on spiky bushes so that harvesting the fruit can be an exhausting procedure, as the berries are not easy to pick from the branches.
This might be one reason for the high price of quality sea buckthorn products.
The plant is quite undemanding when it comes to location. It prefers chalky and sandy soil and can grow at rocky mountain ledges as well as on seaside dunes.
The English name describes this preference with the prefix “sea” while the German term – translated “sandy thorn” – also hints at this.
Here in Germany there are two Northeastern states (Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) where the berries are cultivated and grown on plantations.
Despite being a domestic fruit, it is very difficult to buy fresh berries.
They can’t be eaten raw because of their sourness; it is more likely to find them made into high-concentrated juices, jams or syrups in European supermarkets.
Sea buckthorn not only provides dishes with a fresh and fruity twist, the powerful berry has some other incredible qualities as well.
In comparison to other citrus fruits, its vitamin C content can be up to nine times higher.
It also contains minerals like magnesium, iron and calcium and vitamins of the A, B and E group. With a fat content of 7% and lots of healthy fat-soluble vitamins, the fruit allows your body to process the nutrients directly.
Good news for all vegetarians or vegans, too:
The berry contains vitamin B12, and important nutrient for people who have removed meat from the menu.
While the fruits are a powerfood for your immune system, they can also help you cosmetically.
Sea buckthorn oil is an ideal solution for sore, coarse or dry skin due to the plant’s fat content. The berries are also recommended for neurodermatitis, acne or sunburns.
Slice Of Nature Sea Buckthorn Virgin Unrefined Cold pressed oil available from Amazon
Because of the healing ingredients, sea buckthorn can be found in high end face creams, body lotions, bath additives or massage oils.
And how can you use this vitamin bomb in the kitchen?
If you’re lucky enough to find fresh berries, you can bring them to a boil with some water and honey and filter the liquid through a cloth strainer to make your own juice.
You may need to add some fruit juice to reduce the sourness of the pure drink.
If you don’t have any fresh sea buckthorn at hand, try to find the high-concentrated version of this juice.
Drinking the pure juice is not very tasty due to its strong, sour flavor. But it makes the perfect addition to lots of other versatile recipes.
I recommend mixing it with sparkling water (ratio 1:6) or regular fruit juice for an additional boost of vitamins, enjoying it mixed with your granola or yogurt, or as a sauce for ice cream or fruit salad.
You might even use it as a replacement for vinegar or an addition to salad dressings.
Another idea is to infuse it into your next exotic curry dish or pair it with other savory foods.
The fruit goes well with lamb, game meat or cheese. So why not add a teaspoon to your marinade or dipping sauce?
The following recipe is a nice idea for a fresh and fruity dessert. The mousse tastes wonderful with some red berries or mint for garnish.
If you have difficulty finding fresh berries, begin with step 2 and use high-concentrated juice.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.