Are Juniper Berries just Juniper Berries when used for seasoning? And if pick from the plant do they need to be dried before using?
All juniper species grow berries, but some are considered too bitter to eat. In addition to J. communis, other edible species include Juniperus drupacea, Juniperus phoenicea, Juniperus deppeana, and Juniperus californica. Some species, for example Juniperus sabina, are toxic and consumption is inadvisable.
But evidently, Tom J, the Apaches in your neck of the woods (well, okay, the scrub brush) used juniper for food, medicine, jewelry, and fissionable nuclear material.Juniper, typically Juniperus communis, is used to flavor gin, a liquor developed in the 17th century in the Netherlands. Recently, some American distilleries have begun using 'New World' varieties of juniper such as Juniperus occidentalis.
A man after my own heart! Sometimes I like to soak the ice in the shaker with a little vermouth, drain it all out, then pour the Bombay, Tank, or Beefeaters. Yeah, two olives, frozen tini glass, Silver Bullet! RAYNorCal Kid wrote:I'm not a big drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional martini-gin, of course, and so dry that all one needs to do is have a vermouth bottle in proximity to the glass. Sapphire preferred, with two olives.
Ironically, I'm not a real big fan of juniper in my food.
From my research on the subject and gathering juniper berries for my own use, there are no native poisonous juniper berries in North America. Some, like the alligator juniper are more bitter than the others (they are all bitter tasting), but all are edible. Duckie, the Juniperus sabina you mentioned above is an ornamental low growing shrub from Asia. I think I used to have one in Sakatchewan because it can take cold temperature. So if you are unsure, don't gather berries from low growing junipers, only from those growing on trees. And there is no shortage of those in the American Southwest.el Ducko wrote:Here's to you, my friend. (Hoists an avocado martini and looks to the west.)
If there's a local naturalist nut who can identify the juniper species as edible or not, I'd go for it. (Or maybe, try the local library.) Sounds good. Please share a recipe with us.