Sea buckthorn is good for you and tastes great, too. Here's why it's Mark Hix's new favourite superfood.

 
Mark Hix
Buckthorn in action

The whole world might be banging on about superfoods – you know the ones, avocados, pomegranates, kale – but I think this whole fad is boring.

I don’t want to see another dull quinoa salad on a menu until someone’s made an effort to make it taste of something. It should taste good, not just be scattered on a salad to bluff the consumer into thinking it’s a healthy dish.

If you want to get your chops round a berry that’s just as delicious as it is delicious, then try some sea buckthorn instead. I’ve been using it for years now for all sorts of drinks and desserts, and in cooking generally, and it’s much more interesting. The trouble is, a lot of people I come across haven’t heard even heard of it.

Read more: Mark Hix went fishing and caught all these stupid mushrooms

Years ago, sea buckthorn were planted as a sea defence to keep animals in and predators out, and were rarely used for their health and nutritional properties, let alone for cooking. I can only describe these tiny, bright orange berries as tasting somewhere between a passion fruit and a mandarin.

I don’t want to see another dull quinoa salad on a menu until someone’s made an effort to make it taste of something.

They popped up on my radar some years ago at a dinner I hosted at Hix Oyster and Chop House. I was sat next to David Eagle, of Devereux Farm on the Essex coast, who told me how he was cultivating various varieties of sea buckthorn. He recently sent me the fruits of his experimentation and patience and, I must say, they’re the best I’ve ever tasted.

David’s business, the British Sea Buckthorn Company, sells the berries fresh when they’re in season in the summer months and frozen out of season. He also does fruit and seed oil in capsules.

Buttermilk pudding with sea buckthorn

SERVES 4

Ingredients

  • 120ml sea buckthorn juice(see below)
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 12g leaf gelatine (4 sheets)
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 75g sea buckthorn berries, fresh or frozen

Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess water. Bring the sea buckthorn juice and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved then remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved then whisk into the rest of the cream, and the buttermilk.

Pour into shallow moulds or coffee cups and leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight.

To serve, dip the Mould's briefly into a bowl of boiling water for 10 seconds or so and carefully turn out onto cold serving plates and spoon around the sea buckthorn berries.

Call 01255 676175 or email britishseabuckthorn@gmail.com

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