One of the few foods to contain Omega-7 fatty acids, Sea-buckthorn berries are grown widely throughout Tibet, China other mainland regions of Asia, sea-buckthorn is an herbal remedy reputedly used over centuries to relieve cough, aid digestion, invigorate blood circulation and alleviate pain. Bark and leaves may be used for treating diarrhea and dermatological disorders. Berry oil, taken either orally or applied topically, may be used as a skin softener. Several skin products based on Sea-buckthorn oil are available today.
Sea-buckthorn berries are edible and nutritious, though very acidic and oily, unpleasant to eat raw, unless ‘bletted’ and/or mixed as a juice with sweeter substances such as apple or grape juice. Sea-buckthorn fruit can be used to make pies, jams, lotions and liquors.
To overcome high acidity, juice made by adding five-parts water to one-part sea-buckthorn and sweetened to taste, put through a blender and strained, is said to taste like orange or peach juice. Sea-buckthorn leaves, dried and shredded, can be made into teas.
The small, orange-colored berries are rich in vitamin C (about 15 times greater than oranges), vitamin E, beta-carotene, fatty acids, flavonoids, amino acids, and other minerals and bio-active compounds.
Find sea buckthorn products in natural and organic food stores in the form of juices, powder, tea leaves, or supplements.
Image by Hans Hillewaert available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Duck with sea buckthorn
For the duck stock
2 duck legs
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
300 ml red wine
2 sprigs thyme
For the duck
250 ml dark duck stock
100 ml port
4 tbsp sea buckthorn berries, (or juice/syrup if berries unavailable)
agave syrup, to taste
2 duck breast
300-500 g samphire, woody stalks removed, washed and dried
Prep Time: 20 min, plus 1-2 hours chilling
Cook Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 4 hrs 50 mins
1. For the duck stock: fry the duck legs in a large deep pan over a medium-low heat until the fat is rendered out and the skin is golden-brown. Add the vegetables fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown.
2. Pour in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add 500ml water and thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours, topping up occasionally with water if needed. Strain the stock through a sieve and set aside to cool.
3. Chill the stock in the fridge until the fat has risen to the top and solidified. Remove and discard the fat and bring the stock back to a simmer before making the sauce.
4. For the duck: place the sea buckthorn berries and port into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, crushing the berries with the back of a spoon. Add agave syrup to taste, add the stock and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
5. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the duck breasts, skin side down. Leave until the fat is rendered out and the skin is crisp and golden-brown. Turn over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes (for medium), or until the duck is cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest on warm plates. Pour any resting juices into the pan with the sea buckthorn sauce.
6. Melt a knob of butter in a pan until foaming and add the samphire. Fry for a few minutes, or until tender. Season with a little salt (the samphire should be quite salty already) and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Spoon the samphire onto serving plates. Thickly slice the duck and lay over the samphire, then spoon over the sea buckthorn sauce.
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