As its popularity has grown exponentially over the last decade, many have asked themselves; what is sea buckthorn?
We see the Instagram posts of this beautiful orange berry growing on what looks like an olive bush, or we come across gorgeously coloured desserts posted on healthy recipe pages with the seaberry in the ingredients list; again, you might ask yourself, what is a seaberry?
Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a plant native to several regions of Europe and Asia. Its fruits, (knows as seaberries) seeds, and leaves have been used for centuries in traditional medicine due to their impressive nutritional and health benefits. The plant is primarily known for its bright orange berries, which are rich in a plethora of nutrients.
Healthy Attributes of Sea buckthorn berries:
- Rich in Antioxidants: Seaberries are a great source of antioxidants, which can help to combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Anti-Inflammatory: It contains omega fatty acids, particularly omega-7 (palmitoleic acid), which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Heart Health: The nutrients in seaberries might help reduce blood pressure, decrease cholesterol levels, and improve overall heart health.
- Skin Health: Omega-7, along with other nutrients found in seaberry, has been linked to promoting skin health, hydration, and elasticity.
- Digestive Health: Some people use seaberry oil to protect the mucus membranes in the gastrointestinal tract and promote overall digestive health.
- Boost Immune System: Due to its rich vitamin C content, it can aid in boosting the immune system.
Nutrient Profile of Seaberries:
- Vitamins: Seaberries are particularly rich in vitamin C, with levels many times higher than oranges and other citrus fruits. They also contain vitamins A, E, D, and K.
- Omega Fatty Acids: The fruits are a rare source of omega-7 (palmitoleic acid) but also contain omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9.
- Minerals: Seaberries contain essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
- Phenolic Compounds: These are a group of chemicals found in plants, many of which have antioxidant properties. Seaberries contain several, including flavonoids.
- Organic Acids: Malic, oxalic, and quinic acids are some of the organic acids found in the fruit’s juice, which can contribute to its sour taste and potential health benefits.
- Amino Acids: The berries contain several essential amino acids, which are building blocks of protein and crucial for various bodily functions.
- Carotenoids are natural pigments found in plants and precursors to vitamin A. Seaberry is rich in various carotenoids, contributing to its vibrant colour and health benefits.
To maximize its benefits, we can consume sea buckthorn in various forms, such as oil, juice, teas, or as a supplement. It is a versatile ingredient that adds a tangy flavour and a vibrant colour to various dishes.
Here are 10 great recipes that include sea buckthorn:
- Sea Buckthorn Smoothie
- Ingredients: Seaberries, banana, yogurt, honey, and a splash of orange juice.
- Blend everything until smooth and serve chilled.
- Sea Buckthorn Jam
- Ingredients: Fresh or frozen seaberries, sugar, and water.
- Cook the berries and sugar until the mixture thickens and can be preserved in jars.
- Sea Buckthorn and Apple Sorbet
- Ingredients: Seaberry juice, apple juice, sugar, and lemon juice.
- Combine the ingredients, freeze, and churn in an ice cream maker.
- Sea Buckthorn Berry Sauce (for desserts or pancakes)
- Ingredients: Frozen seaberries, sugar, water, and lemon zest.
- Cook until the berries burst and the sauce thickens. Strain if desired.
- Sea Buckthorn Cheesecake
- Ingredients: A standard cheesecake base, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and seaberry puree.
- Mix the ingredients and bake in a crust of your choice.
- Sea Buckthorn Tea
- Ingredients: Dried or frozen seaberries, hot water, and honey.
- Steep the berries in hot water and sweeten with honey.
- Sea Buckthorn Vinaigrette
- Ingredients: Seaberry juice, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Whisk together and drizzle over salads.
- Sea Buckthorn Muffins
- Ingredients: Standard muffin ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder) and a handful of seaberries.
- Incorporate berries into the batter and bake as usual.
- Sea Buckthorn and White Chocolate Cookies
- Ingredients: Classic cookie ingredients (butter, sugar, flour, egg), white chocolate chips, and sweet dried seaberries.
- Mix into cookie dough and bake.
- Sea Buckthorn Gelato
- Ingredients: Seaberry juice, sugar, cream, and egg yolks.
- Cook the ingredients into a custard, then churn in an ice cream maker.
The fruit are very tart, so adjust the sweetness in these recipes according to your preference. Note that sea buckthorn oil is more suited for skin applications than cooking, though it can be taken as a supplement or used in cold culinary applications. The oil should not be heated. Always ensure that any seaberry product you use is food-grade before incorporating it into recipes.
Feel free to leave us a comment about your experiences with the seaberry.
If you’d like to try our sea berry products, stop by our shop page to browse what we have to offer, get more info about “what is sea buckthorn?” and how you can add this delicious fruit to your diet.