Juniper Berry

Ingredients

  • Organic Juniper Berry

Origin​

  • Croatia

Form

  • Whole cone

Certification

  • Organic, Kosher

Typical Use

  • Fall, Winter

Background

  • Juniper is a woody shrub in the conifer or cypress family that is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Although the fruits of this plant are commonly called berries, they are actually small cones that take nearly two years to mature and change color from green to purplish-black. A clue to its character is revealed by taxonomy: its name is derived from the Latin “junio,” meaning “young,” and “parere,” which means “produce.” Juniper Berry is one of the few spices that are widely used in Northern Europe but virtually unknown in the rest of the world. For example, Juniper berry is particularly popular in Scandinavian cuisine, where it is used to flavor wild game.

Cooking

  • Juniper berries, from the coniferous juniper tree, are the primary aromatic component in gin.In cooking, juniper is often used to lend a bright, resinous flavor to fatty, deeply flavored ingredients like wild game, duck, and choucroute (the Alsatian sauerkraut and sausage dish). For the best flavor, buy whole berries and grind them yourself. Like most spices, juniper quickly loses its potency once ground, so grind only as much as you need for a given recipe. In Scandinavian cuisine, Juniper Berries are also used for curing of meats and/or salmon.

Cultural​

  • The name "gin" is derived from the French and Dutch words for juniper: "genièvre" and "jenever," respectively. This spirit was created by Dutch physician Dr. Sylvius, who redistilled pure alcohol with juniper berries in hopes that the berries' therapeutic oil would manifest in a low-cost medicine. The medicinal project was a success, though it came at the price (or gain, if you look at it that way) of a spirit with a flavor that effectively hid the harsh taste of alcohol. If you've ever used the phrase "Dutch courage," or liquid courage, you can thank Dr. Sylvius.

​Spiritual

  • Back in medieval times Juniper was seen as a protective herb and was used to ward off witchcraft and black magic. Its aromatic smoke was used for ritual purification and was said to aid in clairvoyance. On the Celtic Fire Festival of Samhain, Juniper was burned to stimulate contact with the Otherworld when the veil between the worlds was considered at its thinnest. 

Medicinal​

  • The earliest recorded medicinal use of Juniper Berries occurs in an Egyptian papyrus dating back to 1500 BCE. The Romans used the berries for purification and stomach ailments.

 

Juniper is a powerful diuretic – a herb that increases the flow of urine, helping to cleanse the system of excess fluids and stimulating the kidneys. This causes the body to flush out uric acid and excess crystals that can cause many problems including gout, arthritis and kidney stones.

 

The Juniper Berry is rich in volatile oils, in particular, terpinen-4-ol, which is reported to increase the rate of kidney filtration, which in turn increases urine flow whilst helping to flush out bacteria from the kidneys and bladder. This makes Juniper exceptionally useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections, with some patients reporting relief after just 24-72 hours of use. Juniper Berries also contain bitter compounds that stimulate bile flow and the production of digestive enzymes. This allows the body to breakdown foods more easily and enhances nutrient absorption. Due to their astringent properties, they are particularly effective at relieving heartburn and other digestive upsets. Juniper can also be useful in the treatment of upset stomachs, colitis, gastrointestinal infections, loss of appetite and intestinal worms.

 

Juniper Berries are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals including; alpha-pinene, cadinene, limonene, myrcene, borneol, caryophyllene and germacrene, among many other antioxidant compounds. Juniper berries also protect from free radical damage.

 

Juniper Berries are sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Insulin”, and they have indeed been shown to contain natural insulin that can work in the body just like its pharmaceutical counterpart. Animal research shows that the berries contain certain compounds that increase insulin production, thus lowering blood sugar levels.

 

Juniper Berry essential oil is packed with healing compounds and antioxidants and as such has a wide range of uses. It can be diluted in a carrier oil to create a massage or bath oil that can help to clear sluggish lymph glands and detoxification pathways, leaving you feeling both stimulated yet relaxed. Juniper Berry oil is considered one of the most effective essential oils for dealing with anxiety related to inner trauma, exerting a positive effect on the relaxation responses in the brain when it is inhaled.

Recipes

Recipe for game seasoning, use often - https://www.dietdoctor.com/recipes/game-seasoning
 

An interesting twist on a Norhern European pork dish - https://www.saveur.com/article/recipes/pork-with-juniper-berries-filetto-di-maiale-con-bacche-di-ginepro
 

Rib Roast - https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/herb-and-salt-crusted-standing-rib-roast-with-morel-sauce
 

Cranberry Gelee - https://food52.com/recipes/19725-canal-house-s-cranberry-port-gelee

 

Shop​

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Santa Cruz, CA, United States

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