Can you eat Sea Buckthorn berries?

When urban hunter-gatherers have hung up their plastic carrier bags and colanders after the short-lived, free blackberry harvest, those in the know are just ramping up for the next crop of edible berries which are waiting just around the corner.

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Native to the fixed dunes and sea cliffs of Europe and Asia, sea buckthorn is a spiny deciduous shrub often seen planted in coastal regions due to its resistance to salt in both the air and the soil. So, Can you eat Sea Buckthorn berries?

While sea buckthorn berries do not look like most of the regular fruits you find in the supermarket you will be please to know that they are indeed edible - despite their particularly sharp flavour. Be that as it may, freshly picked sea buckthorn berries are surprisingly good for you. They contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids and phytosterols which help to reduce LDL cholesterol. Sea buckthorn also has a complete fatty acid profile that includes omega-3, omega-6, omega-7 and omega-9s.

You can pick them straight from the stem, although this can be quite messy and you will have to contend with the thorns (hence the common name). The best way to harvest sea buckthorn berries is to run your fingers among the stem, bursting the berries into a suitable container. Sieve out any skins, leaves or seeds that have made their way into the juice and drink as fresh as you like. However, to make it more palatable and to preserve it in any quantity, you will need to heat the juice with sugar to make a syrup.

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