Recipe: Sea buckthorn and apple jelly.

It’s time for my annual visitation of this old-but-relevant post from 2012…’tis the season for harvesting sea buckthorn berries in Alberta (and many other places worldwide)! Tasty AND beautiful!

 

(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

My hubby and I managed to get out this past Saturday morning and gather some sea buckthorn fruit so that I could try my hand at making jelly from it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll recall that I made a sea buckthorn beverage last year – I just love the citrusy taste of the berries and their gorgeous sun-bright colour.

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a fairly common roadside plant here in Calgary – the City planted many of them years ago, mostly for erosion control on slopes.  It’s one of those shrubs you’d be hard-pressed to kill:  it’s tough-as-nails, drought-tolerant, pollution and salt-tolerant (good for our winter roads and all that de-icing salt), and a fairly aggressive spreader.  You don’t find it employed as an ornamental landscape plant very often, but it’s really very pretty, with silvery-green leaf clusters and the brilliant autumn fruit.  (Both male and female plants are required for fruit production).  Sure, some people may be turned off by the thorns, but they contribute to the shrub’s rabbit and deer resistance, which can’t be a bad thing, right?!

The only thing that irks me to no end about gathering sea buckthorn berries is that it’s just such a difficult process – the fruit only comes off the stems under extreme duress.   The kind of duress that leaves you standing there with bright orange seabuckthorn juice all over your clothes and squirted in your eye.  I’ve read that commercial harvesters of the shrub just go along and prune off fruit-bearing branches, freeze them for awhile, and then “shake” the berries free…but I didn’t give that a go.  I ought to have – it took me FOREVER to get the berries off of the branches.

But it’s worth it for this jelly.  Trust me.  It’s so yummy and pretty!

Small-Batch Sea Buckthorn and Apple Jelly

(I added apples to this recipe because I didn’t use commercial pectin – sea buckthorn doesn’t have very much natural pectin, so the addition of a high-pectin fruit helps the jelly set properly.  I had some British Columbia-grown ‘Sunrise’ apples, but use any variety you love.  Crabapples would work as well).

4 cups sea buckthorn berries, washed thoroughly

3 apples, washed, peeled, cored, and diced finely (if you don’t want to go to the trouble, and your apples are organic, you can leave the peels on)

1/2 cup water

Place berries, apples and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer fruit for 20 minutes.  Stir periodically and crush the fruit against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon.  (It all mashes down pretty well on its own, and won’t require much additional help).

Strain the fruit through a jelly bag (or several layers of cheesecloth) over a large bowl.  Don’t force the fruit through the bag – this will make the jelly cloudy and you don’t want that!  Set it up so that the fruit can slowly strain overnight.

In the morning, sterilize your canning jars and lids.   Measure out the juice.  I ended up with 2 cups using this recipe, but your measurement may vary slightly.  Place the juice into a saucepan and mix in an equal amount of white sugar.  Bring the sugar and juice to a rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, until you’ve reached gel point.

Carefully pour the jelly into the sterilized jars, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (don’t forget to adjust the length of time according to altitude, as specified in this handy chart).  If you plan to eat the jelly soon and don’t want to go to all the trouble of processing jars for storing, you can just pop the jars into the fridge once the jelly is cool.  It is a very small batch, after all…and you’ll be hooked once you have a taste!

Do you grow sea buckthorn in your garden, or do you forage for sea buckthorn berries?  

 Looking for more sea buckthorn berry recipes?

My sea buckthorn berry recipe book, Sea Buckthorn Bounty: Recipes is now available here!

51HB5NUxB3L._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-60,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

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Recipe: Sea buckthorn and apple jelly.

It’s nearly sea buckthorn berry season here!  I wrote this post almost 4 years ago but it remains one of the most popular on Flowery Prose, so I’m putting it up again for anyone who missed it the first time.  This is a delicious way to enjoy the goodness of sea buckthorn berries year ’round!

(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

My hubby and I managed to get out this past Saturday morning and gather some sea buckthorn fruit so that I could try my hand at making jelly from it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll recall that I made a sea buckthorn beverage last year – I just love the citrusy taste of the berries and their gorgeous sun-bright colour.

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a fairly common roadside plant here in Calgary – the City planted many of them years ago, mostly for erosion control on slopes.  It’s one of those shrubs you’d be hard-pressed to kill:  it’s tough-as-nails, drought-tolerant, pollution and salt-tolerant (good for our winter roads and all that de-icing salt), and a fairly aggressive spreader.  You don’t find it employed as an ornamental landscape plant very often, but it’s really very pretty, with silvery-green leaf clusters and the brilliant autumn fruit.  (Both male and female plants are required for fruit production).  Sure, some people may be turned off by the thorns, but they contribute to the shrub’s rabbit and deer resistance, which can’t be a bad thing, right?!

The only thing that irks me to no end about gathering sea buckthorn berries is that it’s just such a difficult process – the fruit only comes off the stems under extreme duress.   The kind of duress that leaves you standing there with bright orange seabuckthorn juice all over your clothes and squirted in your eye.  I’ve read that commercial harvesters of the shrub just go along and prune off fruit-bearing branches, freeze them for awhile, and then “shake” the berries free…but I didn’t give that a go.  I ought to have – it took me FOREVER to get the berries off of the branches. (NOTE:  There are some new cultivars available that are much easier to pick!).

But it’s worth it for this jelly.  Trust me.  It’s so yummy and pretty!

Small-Batch Sea Buckthorn and Apple Jelly

(I added apples to this recipe because I didn’t use commercial pectin – sea buckthorn doesn’t have very much natural pectin, so the addition of a high-pectin fruit helps the jelly set properly.  I had some British Columbia-grown ‘Sunrise’ apples, but use any variety you love.  Crabapples would work as well).

4 cups sea buckthorn berries, washed thoroughly

3 apples, washed, peeled, cored, and diced finely (if you don’t want to go to the trouble, and your apples are organic, you can leave the peels on)

1/2 cup water

Place berries, apples and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer fruit for 20 minutes.  Stir periodically and crush the fruit against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon.  (It all mashes down pretty well on its own, and won’t require much additional help).

Strain the fruit through a jelly bag (or several layers of cheesecloth) over a large bowl.  Don’t force the fruit through the bag – this will make the jelly cloudy and you don’t want that!  Set it up so that the fruit can slowly strain overnight.

In the morning, sterilize your canning jars and lids.   Measure out the juice.  I ended up with 2 cups using this recipe, but your measurement may vary slightly.  Place the juice into a saucepan and mix in an equal amount of white sugar. (Update:  Sea buckthorn berries are very tart, so you will probably welcome the sweetener, but if you’re watching your sugar intake, you can reduce the sugar to 1 cup).  Bring the sugar and juice to a rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, until you’ve reached gel point.

Carefully pour the jelly into the sterilized jars, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (don’t forget to adjust the length of time according to altitude, as specified in this handy chart).  If you plan to eat the jelly soon and don’t want to go to all the trouble of processing jars for storing, you can just pop the jars into the fridge once the jelly is cool.  It is a very small batch, after all…and you’ll be hooked once you have a taste!

Do you grow sea buckthorn in your garden, or do you forage for sea buckthorn berries?  

 Looking for more sea buckthorn berry recipes?

My sea buckthorn berry recipe book, Sea Buckthorn Bounty: Recipes is now available here!

51HB5NUxB3L._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-60,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

Persistence.

Winter solitude –

in a world of one color

the sound of wind.

                                         -(Matsuo Basho, 1644-1694)

You guessed it – it’s still snowing here.  But it’s not quite a “world of one color”:

IMG_8272

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

IMG_8277

Peking cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus)

IMG_8278

European cranberry, guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)

I love the persistence of berries during winter!  Not only are they amazing pops of colour in the landscape, but some of them provide sustenance for fruit-eating birds during these cold, dark days.  I’ve been worrying a bit about the chickadees that have been huddling together in the lilacs in the yard – the property management company doesn’t encourage the use of feeders, so they’re not getting any sort of nut-seed mix from anyone in the complex.  I wonder if I could get away with buying a block of suet and placing it somewhere deep in the shrubs?

Of course, a covert operation such as this will require significant stealth tactics and a pre-dawn launch.  I’ve got the early morning part down pat, but I’m utterly hopeless at sneaky – I’m guaranteed to get caught!   Oh well, it’s all for a good cause….  😉

Do you feed wild birds during the wintertime (or year-round)?  And what are your favourite shrubs and trees for winter interest?

Recipe: Sea buckthorn and apple jelly.

(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

My hubby and I managed to get out this past Saturday morning and gather some sea buckthorn fruit so that I could try my hand at making jelly from it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll recall that I made a sea buckthorn beverage last year – I just love the citrusy taste of the berries and their gorgeous sun-bright colour.

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a fairly common roadside plant here in Calgary – the City planted many of them years ago, mostly for erosion control on slopes.  It’s one of those shrubs you’d be hard-pressed to kill:  it’s tough-as-nails, drought-tolerant, pollution and salt-tolerant (good for our winter roads and all that de-icing salt), and a fairly aggressive spreader.  You don’t find it employed as an ornamental landscape plant very often, but it’s really very pretty, with silvery-green leaf clusters and the brilliant autumn fruit.  (Both male and female plants are required for fruit production).  Sure, some people may be turned off by the thorns, but they contribute to the shrub’s rabbit and deer resistance, which can’t be a bad thing, right?!

The only thing that irks me to no end about gathering sea buckthorn berries is that it’s just such a difficult process – the fruit only comes off the stems under extreme duress.   The kind of duress that leaves you standing there with bright orange seabuckthorn juice all over your clothes and squirted in your eye.  I’ve read that commercial harvesters of the shrub just go along and prune off fruit-bearing branches, freeze them for awhile, and then “shake” the berries free…but I didn’t give that a go.  I ought to have – it took me FOREVER to get the berries off of the branches.

But it’s worth it for this jelly.  Trust me.  It’s so yummy and pretty!

Small-Batch Sea Buckthorn and Apple Jelly

(I added apples to this recipe because I didn’t use commercial pectin – sea buckthorn doesn’t have very much natural pectin, so the addition of a high-pectin fruit helps the jelly set properly.  I had some British Columbia-grown ‘Sunrise’ apples, but use any variety you love.  Crabapples would work as well).

4 cups sea buckthorn berries, washed thoroughly

3 apples, washed, peeled, cored, and diced finely (if you don’t want to go to the trouble, and your apples are organic, you can leave the peels on)

1/2 cup water

Place berries, apples and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer fruit for 20 minutes.  Stir periodically and crush the fruit against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon.  (It all mashes down pretty well on its own, and won’t require much additional help).

Strain the fruit through a jelly bag (or several layers of cheesecloth) over a large bowl.  Don’t force the fruit through the bag – this will make the jelly cloudy and you don’t want that!  Set it up so that the fruit can slowly strain overnight.

In the morning, sterilize your canning jars and lids.   Measure out the juice.  I ended up with 2 cups using this recipe, but your measurement may vary slightly.  Place the juice into a saucepan and mix in an equal amount of white sugar.  Bring the sugar and juice to a rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, until you’ve reached gel point.

Carefully pour the jelly into the sterilized jars, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (don’t forget to adjust the length of time according to altitude, as specified in this handy chart).  If you plan to eat the jelly soon and don’t want to go to all the trouble of processing jars for storing, you can just pop the jars into the fridge once the jelly is cool.  It is a very small batch, after all…and you’ll be hooked once you have a taste!

Do you grow sea buckthorn in your garden, or do you forage for sea buckthorn berries?  

 Looking for more sea buckthorn berry recipes?

My sea buckthorn berry recipe book, Sea Buckthorn Bounty: Recipes is now available here!

51HB5NUxB3L._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-60,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

Sea buckthorn bounty.

The sea buckthorn shrubs in my neighbourhood are heavy-limbed with bright orange, sweet-scented berries right now.  The harvest looks more abundant than I’ve ever seen before – it must be partly due to the higher-than-usual rainfall we’ve had this summer.   Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) can tolerate a great deal of drought – that’s one of the reasons the City has used them in large-scale plantings – but regular, even moisture promotes better fruit production.

There are other reasons sea buckthorn make great urban plantings:  they can grow nearly anywhere, in a wide range of soil types, in pretty much any light.  They are tough enough to handle our frequent winter freeze-and-thaw cycles and the periods of bitter, prolonged cold.  Summer hailstorms hardly knock them about – their narrow, grey-green leaves and their fruit are incredibly persistent (more about that later).   They are not fazed by pollution or the nasty (and essential) amounts of road salt we throw down in the winter.  Pests and diseases rarely plague them.  And pruning is not required (do you want to tangle with those 5 cm long thorns?).

And there is the fruit!  It’s hard to believe just how nutritious these berries are – they’re filled with huge amounts of essential fatty acids and carotenes and TONS OF vitamin C.  I was a bit surprised at how difficult they are to harvest, though – a considerable amount of force is needed to remove them from their stems, and if you grip them too hard in the process, they burst open, spraying orange juice all over your hands.  (Apparently the “burst rate” in commercial harvesting is 15% or thereabouts, so I don’t have to blame my sloppy picking skills).   The berries are small and sort of slippery, and they hang in tight clusters right next to those vicious thorns (one of which found its way into my thumb this morning).  They are tart and citrusy when eaten fresh – most of the time, they’re found in processed products such as juice, beer and preserves.  At the moment, I have a pot of berries and water simmering on the stove, which I will eventually mix with sparkling water for what will be a refreshing cold beverage on this hot late-summer day.  And although I didn’t pick any leaves – they’re too mature at this time of year – they can also be consumed as a tisane.

For all of sea buckthorn’s amazing properties, however, it does have some drawbacks, the largest being its rhizomatous root system and propensity to sucker like crazy.  This can be highly useful when the plant is grown in shelterbelts or to control erosion on slopes, but it’s not necessarily a great thing for the home gardener, unless you’re prepared to maintain control of the extra plants.  (Consider, however, how many other types of plants also propagate in the same manner and are still highly valued as ornamentals or food crops).

With the potential for such a fantastic harvest, who wouldn’t want to grow sea buckthorn?

Time for a taste test!  🙂

***

http://seabuckthorn.com/sbtprodguide.pdf

UPDATE (26 APRIL 2015):

My sea buckthorn recipe book, Sea Buckthorn Bounty: Recipes is now available! Go to my Store to order your copy!

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