Juniper Berries - Hand Picked
Best known for their application in flavouring gin, these dark-blue, almost black, soft, aromatic berries are used in many traditional European recipes.
A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The outer scales of the berries are relatively flavourless, so the berries are almost always at least lightly crushed before being used as a spice.
The dried berries should be well crushed just before using as the flavor will decline rapidly once exposed to the air. You won't need many, three or four of the berries will flavor most dishes without overpowering the main ingredient or other seasonings.
Add a few juniper berries to stews and casseroles, Juniper berries are used to impart a sharp, clear flavor to wild game like boar and venison. A few juniper berries will reduce the wild flavor of these meats. See our Juniper Berry Marinade recipe below.
Poultry stuffings are given a delicious lift when about 3 or 4 juniper berries are slightly crushed and added to the stuffing, with herbs like Herbs de Provence, Italian Herbs or Mixed Herbs.
Juniper berries add that pleasant tartness to Germanic dishes, such as sauerbraten, stuffed goose and beef stews.
Juniper tea prepared from these berries is often used as a rub to relieve joint pain and soreness and is a treatment for gout and other similar conditions. Juniper tea is also a centuries old hangover remedy.
Recipe: - Juniper Berry Marinade for Meat.
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon — zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic — crushed
1 tbsp juniper berries — crushed
1/4 tsp dry sage leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Zest and then juice the lemon. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a ziplock bag and add meat. Refrigerate for eight to 24 hours, occasionally shaking bag to mix things up.
Health Benefits: Juniper Berry is an effective diuretic and antiseptic that not only promotes the flow of urine, but also may treat infection of the urinary tract at the same time. As a diuretic, the herb stimulates the kidneys and bladder to get rid of retained and excess water (possibly also helping to treat obesity). Juniper increases the filtering of waste products by the kidneys and helps to expel prostate sediment and gallstones. It is also thought to dissolve kidney stones.
The herb helps to prevent the crystallization of uric acid in the kidneys, retaining it in a solution and passing it in the urine; thus curtailing the formation of razor sharp crystals of uric acid in the big toe! (Gout)
Juniper berries are used medicinally for digestive problems, including nausea, indigestion, flatulence, heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite, and intestinal worms. Internally, juniper berries have also been used for kidney problems, including: urinary tract infections, and kidney stones.
Externally, juniper berries have also been applied directly to the skin to reduce pain. Juniper may have anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. It is also considered anti-inflammatory and may help to reduce inflammation.