The Rime of the Postmodern Mariner

More ramblings of Rhys Hughes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Seaberry, Eat Berry!

A fortnight ago, Adele and I were sitting in The Dolphin in the village of Llanrhidian after one of our monumental bicycle rides; there was a pile of books on the windowsill and I browsed through them; one of them turned out to be a superb hardback volume called Wild Food by one of my gurus, Ray Mears. In these harsh economic times, with the price of shop food soaring to ludicrous levels, the art of foraging for one's meals is once again becoming an essential skill.

I am a fruit lover and I particularly love berries, but I'd known nothing at all about the 'seaberry' before leafing through Mears' book. A few days ago we chanced upon some bushes laden with fruit. They aren't easy to pick: the sea-buckthorn shrubs on which they grow are armed with vicious thorns. Supposedly the flavour is too bitter to be deemed enjoyable unless the raw berries are treated, but this turned out not to be the case. I found them delicious! Like an incredibly intense blast of orange, passion fruit and lemon: sweet on the tip of the tongue, sour at the back. There is bitterness too, but nothing unpalatable.

It turns out that seaberries are packed with vitamins, including levels of Vitamin C fifteen times higher than that of oranges! Indeed, they are considered among the most nutritious fruits on the planet. I became an instant convert. However, I would ask potential harvesters among you to remember that they are a vital winter food source for several species of bird and to take only sparingly.


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