Maybe 10 years ago, this tiny orange berry became popular with the foraging, bushcraft types. It was in theory, edible - it was in theory, loaded with vitamins and minerals, it grows abundantly on vast stretches of coast. They set it as a tough strap of leathery jelly, and chew it as they hike. (I have tried this… nope nope nope nope nope nope nope. The secret is to use so much other fruit, the flavour is completely drowned out).
Eventually, chefs got to hear about this food, and it started to creep onto the menu’s of the trendiest resturants, alongside the crab-apple icecreams and Sloe-crumbles.
There was one problem though, no-one could make it taste nice. Never underestimate the foodies desire to try something new (And to my shame, I have ordered it three times… nope nope nope nope nope nope no no no no never again), it was very popular. Around this time, there was a reality cooking show on tv called Great British Menu, in which top end chefs - we’re talking at the level of the guy who runs Claridges for Gorden Ramsey while he’s shouting at people on camera - compete to cook a course in a really high end, prestigeous banquet. It’s judged by a couple of food journalists, but more significantly, a lady by the name of Prue Leith - of Leiths cookery school - one of the most respected schools in Europe.
Year after year, hopeful, often michelin starred chefs would serve her Sea Buckthorn, to be ejected from the competition thanks to a terrible score for their dessert, accompanied by a look of revulsion from all three judges, and threats that if anyone ever served them that disgusting fruit again, there would be hell to pay.
Until, one year, one very talented chef by the name of Nathan Outlaw presented his take on Sea Buckthorn - a curd flavoured with it’s juice.
“It’s a lovely merangue, shame about that ghastly curd. What flavour is it?”
“Sea Buckthorn, I believe.”
“Oh, well, it’s the most edible take on it we’ve had yet”.
“I agree, it’s almost completely devoid of that… peculiar flavour”
“Yes but if he thinks he’s serving it at the banquet, well, he needs to go home and have a jolly good look at himself in the mirror”.
So there you have it - the most tolerable way to eat buckthorn is to have a 2 michelin starred chef make it into a curd, which increases it’s edibility to “ghastly”.