Dirleton village seen through Sea Buckthorn: photo courtesy of Fred McClintock who has also supplied the text and recipe
A winter’s walk down Ware Road to Yellowcraig beckons! On the right hand side of the road the ripening bright orange sea buckthorn berries attract winter visitors, including Fieldfares and Redwings from Scandinavia to enjoy this rich source of energy. These berries are also edible by humans. Although particularly tart they are not unpleasant. They are consumed in Russia, parts of Northern Europe and China. They are nutrient-rich, packed with vitamins A, K, E, C, B1, B2 and fatty acids. In some quarters they are hailed as a “super-food” rivalling acai berries.
Gin With Orange Buckthorn Juice
Harvest several bunches of buckthorn berries - best with secataurs and stout gloves. It is easiest to do this by cutting off the tips of several branches bearing the berries and collecting them in a carrier bag. Take them home and place the berry bunches into a sieve with a bowl underneath. Extract the orange liquid by gently crushing the berries with the back of a spoon, collecting the bright orange juice in the bowl. Mix some of the juice with a measure of gin and a teaspoonful of sugar. Enjoy!
Harvesting Buckthorn Berries
As mentioned above, because the bushes have very long and sharp thorns, they are best collected wearing thick gloves and using secataurs. There are plenty of recipes for using them online, but the berries can be quite frustrating to strip off the stems without squashing or getting scratched by the thorns. Because the berries are improved after frost, it makes sense to cut the stems into manageable lengths, and bag and freeze them. When you take them out of the freezer, the frozen berries are much easier to handle and strip from the stems.
Other Recipes for Sea Buckthorn
Following on the theme of these berries which are plentiful around Dirleton in winter, it is fun to google Sea buckthorn Recipes
and enjoy browsing everything from ice cream to vinegars to alcoholoi drinks to cheesecake!