I was introduced to the amazing sea buckthorn plant by a friend who forages around the coast in Suffolk. It grows abundantly along stretches of southern England’s sea shores, as well as Scotland and in land, in dry, sandy areas. It is commercially grown mostly in Asia, where it grows in desert conditions where other plants do not survive. I often think that plants which thrive in these harsh conditions have a very strong energy which is present in the fruits we consume. Goji berries and Acai have been widely used by people searching for the ‘super-fruit’ full of antioxidants and healing properties, though these are not presently hugely available to pick within the UK. Sea buckthorn can be found not only all over the UK, but covers itself in bright orange berries from July -November, when the first frosts hit and they lose a lot of their nutrients and flavour. As long as you can get beyond their spiky thorns, which can hinder picking unless you are armed with thick rubber gloves and secateurs, then they are the ultimate local, wild and seasonal super food. Just one berry will fill your mouth with an intense hit of tangy, acidic, sweetness. You’re unlikely to be eating them as you gather due to their potent taste. However, added as a medicinal supplement to raw food dishes, a small amount will pack your food with nutrients. They are high in vitamin C (12 times greater than oranges), carotenoids (evident in the bright colour), vitamins A, K E, B1 and B2, amino acids, folic acid and flavanoids. The oil is commercially used in skin products for its anti-aging properties.
Making your own sea buckthorn juice can be a tricky, thorny business, though can be done by blending the berries with 1 part water to 6 parts berries, then squeezing the juices out through a nut milk bag. If you can’t wait until the summer to get your sea buckthorn super juice, it is available to buy online or in some health food shops. My favourite way to enjoy the super fruit is to use it as an addition to smoothies. I’ve also been adding it to my water kefir base for a buck-fizz!! Just add 10% juice to the second fermentation stage and leave for 48 hours. Wows!
Here is my recipe for a simple sea buckthorn smoothie. You can just drink it on its own, or try making two smoothies (I made a green smoothie) and swirling them together. If you want more of a layered smoothie, use less liquid so that they ‘sit’ on top of each other.
Sea buckthorn smoothie:
15ml sea buckthorn juice
2 frozen bananas
250ml orange or apple juice
1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy straight away or swirl into a green smoothie for a green and orange layered drink:
2 frozen bananas
250ml apple juice
1 handful leafy greens
1 tsp barley grass powder
1 tbsp hemp seeds
Blend all ingredients together and pour into glass, alternating with the sea buckthorn smoothie.