Upon reading this, you may be wondering are all juniper berries edible? Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Juniper berries, small blue edible and poisonous cones, growing on shrubs or trees. Many conifer needles are used to make tea, usually due to their high level of Vitamin C. Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) is found in central and eastern Oregon, and those berries are edible. Mature, but still green juniper berries, are used to make gin. Its berries are not edible, because they’re toxic to humans. The fruit of common juniper (Juniperus communis) is generally considered to be the most flavorful juniper berry, but J. virginiana (eastern red cedar) also produces tasty, edible berries. Most ethnographic references discuss red berry juniper only as a medicinal plant, but it actually produces one of the best-tasting juniper "berries" in North America. It can be used as a spice—a little goes a very long way. Young juniper berries have a greenish coloring, but most varieties ripen to dark purple after two to three years. This oil can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and kidney problems when ingested in large quantities. It’s used for its medicinal purposes as an essential oil, made by steam distillation of the crushed, dried, or fermented berries. The rest are pretty much edible. Juniper berries flourish in the wild, and can be used for a number of things such as cooking, creating gin, and survival in the wild. However, for centuries before Sylvius developed his juniper berry tonic, juniper berries had already been used as a strong flavoring for wine, mead, and other alcoholic beverages, as well as a spice for meats, stews, sauerkraut and other dishes. The confer plant or Pinophyta has many species and the most commonly edible one is Juniperus communis. A hardy evergreen, juniper varieties are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 2 to 9, notes the University of Florida. The Juniperus monosperma should not be eaten as it is unpalatable. todao's poison control center link might be something to pay attention to. They are the required ingredient that flavors gin. However, these berries are not really berries at all; theyre actually the fleshy cones of female junipers, which have such small, compacted scales that they have an appearance similar to berries. Juniper berries can even be added to hair rinses, vinegars or oils to promote shiny hair. In Germany, authentic sauerbraten and sauerkraut are made with juniper berries. In addition to Juniperus Communis, other edible species include Juniperus Drupacea, Juniperus Phoenicea, Juniperus Deppeana and Juniperus Californica It’s also the one that’s ), North Carolina State Cooperative Extension: Juniperus communis, Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute: California Juniper, North Carolina State Cooperative Extension: Juniperus virginiana. Think ‘gin’ and you’re getting close. However, the most prominent use for common juniper berries is in the flavoring of gin. They can be found in the forms of small sprawling shrubs, medium sized shrubs, right up to medium sized trees. Juniper berries are most famous for their use in gin. If you want tasty juniper berries and do not have a J. communis, it would be best to plant one. Certain varieties of juniper berry contain safe, low amounts of Thujone, while other varieties contain high levels and can make you very sick. However, these “berries” are not really berries at all; they’re actually the fleshy cones of female junipers, which have such small, compacted scales that they have an appearance similar to berries. This tonic, now known as gin, instantly became a huge hit throughout Europe as an inexpensive, domestic, buzz- producing alcohol beverage, rather than the medicinal tonic Sylvius had intended it to be. In fact, the name “gin” is derived from either the French or Dutch (no one knows for sure) word for juniper. Plants for a Future: Juniperus communis - L. Are Japanese Junipers Dangerous for Dogs? But beware of the variety Juniperus sabina also known as Savin Juniper! First off, is it safe to eat juniper berries? Words: Jenny Somervell Juniper berries aren't typically found in your average kitchen, but this exotic fruit offers a flavour that jumps out at you and can add that extra punch needed to spice up a dish. Juniper berries are used in medicine, spirits and as spice. Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper, Mountain Cedar, Blueberry Juniper, or Post Cedar) is a drought-tolerant evergreen tree, native to northeastern Mexico and the south-central United States north to southern Missouri; the largest areas are in central Texas, where extensive stands occur. Medicinal uses include the ubiquitous cure for a cold and other chest aliments, as … First, it is important to take a closer look at what we consider a juniper berry. Because she’s toxic and consumption is inadvisable. Instead, just a small quantity of mature juniper berries are added to recipes as a flavoring or spice. All junipers contain the powerful oil Thujone (can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and kidney problems if ingested in large … Besides medicinal uses, which includes treating diabetes, the berries are employed for flavoring, most notably in gin and the French liqueur Chartreuse. But all are not, and some of them are just too bitter to eat. Pear, Plum and Juniper Berry Pie You don’t often see a fruit pie suited to winter, but this honey-glazed pastry is the exception to the rule. (via Domestic Gothess) Cheesy Ham, Juniper and Tomato Sauce The piney, citrusy flavors of juniper are a great way to lighten up heavier dishes. Only the mature juniper berries are harvested as flavoring for … It wasn't clear whether the OP actually found his juniper berries, as he didn't respond, but maybe the thread info will be useful for you, aside from the berry picking location reference. Juniper berries are officially the only spice to come from a conifer tree. (1) One of the major uses of these berries is in juniper berry essential oil. More than 40 different species in the genus of Juniper (Juniperus spp.) During the Middle Ages, juniper berries were used to ward off disease and infection. All juniper species grow berries, but most are considered too bitter to eat. These are the only juniper berries edible as fruit, and even they can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. Each juniper berry contains half a dozen seeds which are triangular, hard and black, and are dispersed by birds which eat the berries. Juniper Juniper berries are used to flavor food and beverages. They have a strong, bitter, slightly peppery-flavour and gritty texture. Ethnic/Cultural Info Juniper berries are responsible for not just the flavor of Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Rockies (Kershaw, 2000) includes an easy recipe for making a Tricky Mary, a virgin Bloody Mary in which you allow juniper berries to flavor tomato juice. Nowadays, juniper berries are primarily used to make gin---or, in small amounts, to enhance the flavor of wild game, but they can … The fruit of common juniper (Juniperus communis) is generally considered to be the most flavorful juniper berry, but J. virginiana (eastern red cedar) also produces tasty, edible berries. Do not eat juniper berries if you are pregnant, nursing or if you have kidney or liver problems, as the berries may irritate symptoms. It takes the “berries” two to three years to ripen. Medicinal uses include the ubiquitous cure for a cold and other chest aliments, as … I would love some feedback and recipes if anyone can help. A few species produce edible juniper berries that are enjoyed by humans. Juniper berries are the aromatic cones from conifer trees used traditionally in many German recipes and to make juniper essential oil. However, when eaten in large quantities, all juniper berries have the potential to cause diarrhea. With more than 60 varieties growing world-wide, they are a widely varying plant and range from low creeping ground cover to tall upright trees. Download Juniper berries stock photos. All junipers contain the powerful oil Thujone ( can cause stomach upset, diarrhea It was originally crafted as a medicine and sold in pharmacies. The common juniper can be grown in the landscape as a shrub or as a tree that can reach 25 feet in height. A: Many conifer needles are used to make tea, usually due to their high level of Vitamin C. Western juniper ( Juniperus occidentalis ) is found in central and eastern Oregon, and those berries are edible. Note that not all juniper berries are edible, so don't go pulling them off a bush unless you're sure they're the safe kind. Juniper berries areprevalent in European cuisine, such as meat stews, juniper tea, and sauces. Juniper Berries Overview Juniper berries naturally grow in the northern hemisphere and in other areas like Siberia, Canada, and Europe. They are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 8, as well as several other zones, depending on the cultivar. Therefore you should know which kind of juniper berries you can eat. When trying to identify bushes/trees that have edible berries, how can I know for sure which Juniper I have in front of me. Avoid harvesting from junipers which grow alongside roads, parking lots, driveways, or landscapes which are treated with pesticides or where they may receive chemical drift or runoff. Juniper berries have a strong, bitter, slightly peppery-flavor and gritty texture. 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When trying to identify juniper berries, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind so you don't mistake poisonous berries for edible juniper berries. Whole berries are also added to teas and tinctures for their medicinal qualities and ground into salves for wound care. They can be added whole and fresh off the shrub to marinades, meat rubs, wood chips when smoking meats, or added to pickling meats. It's a great adjunct to meat dishes such as beef, pork, or wild game such as venison. Also, do not use berries from the commonly sold hybrid known as the Pfitzer Juniper (Juniperus × pfitzeriana). Throughout history, different parts of juniper have been used in different culinary and medicinal recipes, though it is the juniper berries that are used in junipers most noteworthy recipes. Other ways the juniper berry is used is as dried fruit. Native Americans used juniper berries as a medicine to treat sore throats, colds, pain, fever, headaches, joint inflammation, dizziness, kidney stones, as well as to flavor wild game, cakes and breads. Plums, apples, pears and juniper berries make for a dessert that’s equal parts) The juniper sapling is a plug plant, which means it comes ready to go in compost. Additionally, juniper berries are generally not considered safe for pregnant or nursing women. They have a strong, bitter, slightly peppery-flavour and gritty texture. I also strongly suggest not using the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and any of its hybrids, though Native Americans did use this one, there is the possibility the seeds are slightly toxic. Juniper is a conifer that occurs naturally in many parts of the world. All juniper berries contain the powerful oil Thujone. Juniper wood is very workable and useful and provides excellent fuel, and wherever juniper grows the charcoal is recovered from pre-contact period hearths and roasting pits of the Native Americans. Cedar berries come from eastern red cedar trees (Juniperus virginiana) that can grow as tall as 50 feet. But, juniper berries are good for so much more than just gin! [1]Juniper berries are primarily used as a spice. Archeological occurrence. The juniper berries used for flavoring come from the Juniperus communis, which can be a sprawling shrub or a tree that can grow as tall as 52 feet. Now before you start foraging for juniper berries in your backyard, it is important to consider some things. It has also been cultivated for use in the garden landscape. All have lacy, leathery evergreen foliage. Well-macerated juniper berries’ heavy tones can be balanced by other botanicals or by incorporating juniper that is more lightly treated by adding it to the still just before distillation or vapor distilling it in a basket within the still. Caution: Do not use the European Juniperus sabina and Juniperus oxycedrus for food at all. Caution: Do not use the European Juniperus sabina and Juniperus oxycedrus for food at all. This perennial plant grows best in the dry rocky areas and is hardy to USDA zones 8 to 10, notes the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute. Some species produce berries with a low toxicity to humans due to an oil called thujone. Juniper berries can be treated as a robust ingredient and macerated for a couple of days before distillation. All juniper species grow berries, but some are considered too bitter to eat. While these berries are not bitter as are the berries of most juniper species, the red juniper's palatable berries are not as aromatic as those of the common juniper. There are over 45 different types of juniper. Cedar berries come from eastern red cedar trees (Juniperus virginiana) that can grow as tall as 50 feet. Are there some clear identifiers Handling juniper plants can cause skin irritations, so gloves can help. Juniper berries grow on the evergreen shrub that is botanically classified as Juniperus communis and a member of the Cypress Family. Throughout history, different parts of juniper have been used in different culinary and medicinal recipes, though it is the juniper berries that are used in juniper’s most noteworthy recipes. Junipers produce dusky blue berries that are actually cones containing seeds. In the mid-17th century, a Dutch physician named Francis Sylvius created and marketed a diuretic tonic made from juniper berries. The common juniper (Juniperus communis) is the most widely known edible Juniper species. Both eastern red cedar trees and Juniperus communis plants produce berries that are a dark blue and about the size of large peppercorns. Not all juniper berries are edible. Be certain you only consume berries from a variety you know is safe. When trying to identify juniper berries, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind so you don't mistake poisonous berries for edible juniper berries. Common junipers are found growing wild throughout North America, as well as Europe and Asia. Some bartenders may use juniper berries/oil in infusions, syrups, as garnishes, and in other cocktail uses. A juniper berry is a part of the seed cone from the juniper tree and is not actually a berry at all. Just as juniper trees stay the test of time and can live to be hundreds of years old, juniper berries have been an enduring flavor in the repertoire of distillers through the centuries. 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