Because of their strong flavor, juniper berries aren’t eaten on their own like other berries. Rather, they’re used like a spice or a flavoring for a dish. The most prevalent way they’re used is to flavor gin. Other uses for juniper berries include in teas, meat dishes, brines, and in sauerkraut.
The Common Juniper is a low lying plant that is one of the most widely spread trees throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The branches of this shrub have tiny scale like needles and produce light blue and purple flesh like cones – known as the Juniper Berry.
Although it can be harvested any time of the year, only the blue matured cones of the Juniper Plant should be collected for food. The berry can take two to three years to fully ripen which makes a harvest that much more special! Did you know that ours is wildly foraged in the Balkans?
Juniper berries have been favoured throughout history for its many unconventional applications.
In medieval times Juniper smoke was believed to aid in clairvoyance and burned for the ritual purification. Juniper was seen as a protective herb and was used to ward off witchcraft and black magic.
In central Europe, Juniper was burned during outbreaks of the Plague as people believed it would help to expel the disease by fumigation.
Aside from providing a list of historical values, Juniper Berries are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants.