Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Sea Buckthorn Experiment

I have had the migraine back today - which was not good news and I have felt tired and out of sorts and am therefore off for an early night. OH picked me up from work and we took Missy for a walk and as planned went back to pick some of the Sea Buckthorn we located the other day.  I have read of all sorts of horrors in collecting this up to now unknown plant to me as it has a nasty thorn just like a sloe on its stems.  We did try running the tynes of a fork down the branches but this did not do much good at all.  In the end we noticed that off the main branch were lots of little spurs off of which the berries were growing so we harvested these tiny spurs with scissors and bagged them up and brought them home.  Weather permitting I will also be foraging each evening for the rest of the week.

Whereupon I have spent the rest of the evening listening to the TV and working each little spur and stripping the berries with a large pair of craft tweezers.  They are ideal for getting the berries more or less intact off the stem without having a squidgy mess.  It is time consuming but the first run through of juice is the most gorgeous orangy lemon and the juice is tart, but I think it is going to make a lovely jelly.  I managed to strip 2lbs of berries - I have a load more to do tomorrow night.  The first batch has been left to drip overnight and I will make the jelly up tomorrow.  The recipe I am using is a basic recipe for a jelly that I have been making for years.  Basically I gather a load of fruit, pop in some cold water on the fruit just to the top edge of the fruit, boil up and then pass through a sterilised jelly net overnight.  I then measure the juice and for each pint of juice or part thereof I measure out an equivalent amount of sugar.  Pop back into a pan and dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil until a set is achieved and then bottle up.  As I have no apples in this mixture as I was trying to keep it as pure as I can I am going to use a sachet of pectin to help set the jelly  (I prefer the pectin sachets to the Certo) as it gives such a good finish.  I will see what Sea Buckthorn jelly tastes like then, and decide what it will go with.  My first impression is that this will be good with fish because of the acidic taste, but we will see what the addition of the sugar does to it.  I have really enjoyed playing, even though it is time consuming,   Its good to play with new ingredients and tastes.  I am also keen to freeze some of the berries and use them in a champagne type cocktail come Christmas day (as per John Wright's version on River Cottage) and also as a cheesecake topping.  I wonder if they would bottle?  I feel an experiment coming on.

I also earlier on in the evening went out into the garden and picked another two large bowls of blackerries. I have got badly scratched and the bramble thorns have clung on in various places through my clothes and my hands have taken a battering. After doing the Sea buckthorn jelly tomorrow evening I intend to make another batch of blackberry and apple jam  and some blackberry and apple curd, and the hot hedgerow chutney and I might start a batch of compost heap jelly off too.

Right am off to get some shuteye catch you all soon




  1. I have never heard of Sea Buckthorn... is it only found near to you.
    I haven't made jelly for 30 odd years ...seeing your set up brought back memories of me making Japonica Jelly ...the flavour is one that is never forgotten.

  2. Its a shrub/tree that the local authorities are planting more and moer in open areas. It si certainly found near us but you have to search for the bushes. I first came across it through one of the River Cottage programmes last year where the Foragerr John Wright makes some unusual recipes with unusual ingredients. I have never worked with it up until now, this being the first year of having a go with it. but you are supposed to be able to make jams, jellies, syrups use in puddings etc. but it is fiddly hard work like preparing rosehips. I have a particular fondness for making jelly or jellies anyway and amg going to start off some bramble jelly later on. Japonica is on the list to do too my neighbour has some that I can purloin. Does this mean I might tempt you back into jelly making??

    Take care




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