Juniper Berries & Gin

Tom J
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Juniper Berries & Gin

Post by Tom J » Tue Mar 19, 2013 15:47

Where I live we have Juniper bushes and juniper trees.

Are Juniper Berries just Juniper Berries when used for seasoning? And if pick from the plant do they need to be dried before using?

Thanks

Tom J
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Last edited by Tom J on Thu Mar 21, 2013 08:56, edited 1 time in total.
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sawhorseray
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Post by sawhorseray » Tue Mar 19, 2013 17:04

I'm not really sure about that but I do believe they are the additive to distilled gin that causes me to lose my marbles when over-indulging. RAY
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Mar 19, 2013 17:09

fresh juniper berries smell better than dried ones do.
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Tue Mar 19, 2013 18:09

You use juniper berries as a seasoning. But you really have to be careful of the amount since they are quite strong. In Europe, that is in Poland, Germany and Switzerland they are also often added to the firebox to affect the smoke. But that use has been debated whether it makes any discernible difference.

Green berries are unsuitable. You need to harvest the ripe purple coloured ones that have been on the tree for two years. The common juniper is probably the better one. I would not use the alligator juniper in sausage as it is quite bitter, but you can add some to your wood for smoking.

I am currently brining a ham for Easter with juniper berries added and will probably throw a handful over the pellets when smoking.
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Post by el Ducko » Wed Mar 20, 2013 01:04

Here's some more info from our li'l ol' buddies with inquiring minds, the Wikipedians: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniper_berry
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.
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.
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.
No. Wait. That was the guys at White Sands. Never mind.

Good luck. Nice knowing you, etc,etc.
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Post by Bubba » Wed Mar 20, 2013 01:26

Is it not just easier to use Gin and heat out the alcohol?

I always do that and at least I know there is consistent taste / flavor.
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Post by sawhorseray » Wed Mar 20, 2013 07:27

I'm tellin' ya, gin shares a common trait with ant poison,er, I mean tequila. It'll cause a man to lose grip with reality in some instances, especially when shot straight to the brain in martini form. Brown liquor, bourbon and scotch, good. Clear liquor, gin, vodka, ant poison, ... bad. RAY
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Post by nuynai » Wed Mar 20, 2013 13:23

If I was stranded on a island with all the gin I could drink and avocado's I could eat, I'd die of starvation and stop drinking. Just my 2 cents on juniper berries.
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Post by NorCal Kid » Wed Mar 20, 2013 14:11

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. :mrgreen:

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Ironically, I'm not a real big fan of juniper in my food.

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Tom J
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Post by Tom J » Wed Mar 20, 2013 16:18

Thank you one and all for the words of wisdom.

Tom J
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Post by el Ducko » Wed Mar 20, 2013 16:29

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.
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Post by sawhorseray » Wed Mar 20, 2013 18:17

NorCal 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. :mrgreen:

Image

Ironically, I'm not a real big fan of juniper in my food.

Kevin
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! RAY
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Post by redzed » Wed Mar 20, 2013 21:07

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.
:mrgreen:
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.
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Post by Tom J » Sat Mar 23, 2013 14:11

I have been very reluctant in trying Juniper Berries in anything as back in the days of MC Giver (The TV Show) I bit into one which resulted in A fast trip to the ER. There they wired my jaw closed to prevent my tong from exiting my mouth and flopping down the street yelping like A scalded dog. :oops:
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Sat Mar 23, 2013 16:10

Well Tom, if it was indeed a juniper berry that you bit into, it appears you have an allergy to them. What did the medical professionals conclude?
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