Sea-buckthorn: bracing and tasty!
Sea-buckthorn, not to be confused with true buckthorns, is a prickly plant which produces bright orange berries featuring a unique and complex taste, with very original notes varying from sour to tart, as well as quite fruity and slightly sweet, firing up the taste buds in all sorts of directions. The fruit is growing in popularity, both in fine cooking and mixology because of its impressive fragrancy and freshness, a welcome highlight, for example, in sophisticated cocktails. It is also referred to as sandthorn, sallowthorn or seaberry and has been used for time immemorial as food, traditional medicine and skin treatments in many parts of Asia and Northern Europe. Known in French as the pineapple of Siberia, among other exotic names, it grows naturally in Russia, the Himalayas, China (the world’s leading producer) and in the Northern and mountainous regions of Europe. In Asia alone, 200 foods are made from sea-buckthorns: jams, compotes, jellies, sorbets, condiments, etc. These are eaten with cheeses, meat and fish and, today are increasingly at the avant-garde of gastronomic creativity. Sea-buckthorns are also highly appreciated in phytotherapy because of their strong content of vitamins A, C and E, and significant amounts of flavonoids and anthocyanins. Genghis Khan called them “the blood of the Emperor’s heart” and his warriors consumed them to “strengthen their bodies”.