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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Cooking with sea buckthorn

Late in summer you can’t miss the gleaming orange-red berries on sea buckthorn bushes. The soft fruit pulp of the berries has a characteristic velvety-tart, distinctly sour taste. As a rule they are not eaten as picked but turned into jam, jelly, syrup or puree. The fruits are ideal in combination with apricots, oranges or apples. This north European speciality is delicious as a spread on bread, in an exotic smoothie or as a savoury chutney to go with lamb and venison. The juice is obtained by briefly boiling the washed berries in water to which a small amount of honey has been added. The hot juice is then filtered through a muslin cloth and bottled. Pumpkin soup spiked with sea buckthorn juice is a special treat. The fruit pulp enhances muesli, yoghurt or quark, fruit salads, cakes and cookies.

"Lemon of the north"

Sea buckthorn is thought to strengthen the immune system and help against loss of appetite. Thanks to its high vitamin C content, it is also known as the "lemon of the north". The berries also contain provitamin A, vitamin B12, minerals such as magnesium and calcium as well as phytochemicals (flavonoids). Vitamin B12 is found in only a few plant foods.

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Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), also known as sandthorn, sallowthorn, or seaberry, belongs to the family Elaeagnaceae. The deciduous shrubs grow on the banks of mountains streams, in river valleys and above all along the coastal strips of the North Sea and Baltic. Sea buckthorn needs plenty of space in the garden, as it can reach a height and width of up to five and four metres, respectively. Moreover, you need to plant at least two female and one male shrubs, because sea buckthorn is not self-pollinating. Only female plants bear fruit, every two years with a good yield.

The berries grow in bunches directly on the thorny twigs and are quick to burst. Harvesting them can be hard work, but is nonetheless rewarding. The berries can be picked, shaken or stripped off. Don't wait too long with harvesting, because acidity and vitamin C content diminish as the fruits mature.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de