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Juniper Berry

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Juniper Berry Juniperus communis

The Juniper has long been thought of as a protection. It is mentioned in the Bible (I Kings 19:4) and was thought to be a deterrent to the plague. The edible variety is Juniperus Comminis and should not be confused with Juniperus Sabina which is highly poisonous. These astringent blue-black Berries are native to both Europe and America. Juniper Berries are too bitter to eat raw and are usually sold dried and used to flavor meats, sauces, stuffings, etc. They’re generally crushed before use to release their flavor.

In some cultures Juniper Berries are used for indigestion and digestive disorders such as belching, heartburn, and bloating. You should not consume Juniper Berries during pregnancy.

Juniper Berries are used to flavor the liquor Gin and give it its distinctive aroma. Gin is an abbreviation of “Holland’s Geneva”, the drinks original name. The Dutch word for Juniper is “jenever”. Whole, crushed, and powdered Juniper Berry can be used in teas, alcohol extracts, and wine. They are added to sauerkraut and choucroute (French for dressed sauerkraut) for added flavor and crunch. Juniper Berries are also added to wild game rubs. These rubs would be for meats like venison, boar and any other exotic wild meat.