The word “Berry” makes everything seem sweet and merry. However, please don’t pop one of these berries into your mouth just on hearing the word “berry”, as your tastebuds might be in for a surprise!!! Juniper Berries aren’t really berries. These berries are not true berries but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. They are bitter to taste and are best used in marinades and in meat dishes. Juniper berries traditionally have been used to “detoxify” the body and promote healthy digestion and skin health.
More about the Berries:
Juniper berries are the key flavoring in gin, which was originally known as jenever (“juniper”) and was developed in the Netherlands. Juniper berries were used in cooking and for medicinal purposes in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome, and have been found in India and other Asian cultures as well.
Juniper has a piney taste with citrus overtones (sometimes compared to rosemary) and is a common ingredient in German food. Juniper berries are a pungent spice that is popular in European cuisine and also gives gin its distinguishing flavor.
Juniper berries are tiny cones of the juniper bush (a relative of the popular landscaping shrub). Most juniper berries used in recipes come from the species Juniperus communis, a plant that grows in northern climates. Not all juniper berries are edible, some berries are toxic.
You can purchase the product via Amazon.in or head to the webpage of SorichOrganics and get in touch with the team.
To know more about the brand, Click here to read my earlier post on Sorich Organics.
Price: It is priced at Rs.149
Quantity: 100gms ( available in 200, 350 and 900 gm)
Shelf Life: 18 months
Quality: The Resealable airtight packets ensure that the berries stay fresh and do not absorb any moisture.
Packaging: The berries comes in airtight, resealable, recyclable paper bags. These packets are simple to look at. However a pop of colour makes each packet stand out. The package has the brand name and the superfood name on the front of the pack. On the other side of the package it provides information about the product, ingredients, information on how to use the product, Allergy information, Nutritional information, Certification marks, net weight, manufactured date and MRP. It also has the symbol indicating the products are vegetarian.
Benefits of Juniper Berries:
- Juniper berries are a source of vitamin C.
- Juniper berries are rich in antioxidants that might protect your body from oxidative damage. Adding more antioxidant rich foods to your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
- It is a natural antiseptic with anti fungal and antibacterial properties.
- It may help improve digestion.
- It helps improve skin conditions like eczema,vitiligo and rashes.
- can be included as part of a diabetic diet plan
Precautions while using Juniper Berries:
- Pregnant women should never consume juniper berries in whole or essential oil form as it may potentially cause damage to the unborn child or force uterine contractions.
- Juniper is also not recommended for those with poor kidney function.
- It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to juniper berries, which could manifest with skin issues (like a rash) or breathing issues. If you experience any of those conditions after using juniper berries, discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.
- Juniper berries may also interact negatively with certain medications, so if you are on any form of medication, you should first consult with your doctor before using juniper berries or juniper berry essential oil.
How to Use Juniper Berries:
If you want a strong juniper aroma and flavor to your dish, crushing fresh berries before adding them to a sauce or marinade is the way to go.
For a more subtle flavor, you can toast the berries, but be careful not to burn them or they’ll taste bitter.
To crush the berries, put a tablespoon or so in a zippered bag and lightly smash them with a meat mallet, hammer or wine bottle. Once they’re flattened, dump them on a cutting board and chop them finely with a chef’s knife before adding to your dish or marinade.
Whole or crushed, juniper berries add a lot of flavor. But you’ll want to be careful when first trying them in a recipe to find the smallest amount to get the most flavor. Too much juniper berry can overpower all the other flavors. As a flavor enhancer , they work best in savory dishes. Try them in a stew or add to your chicken before roasting. The berries pair really well with game, such as venison or duck.
What to cook with Juniper Berries:
Juniper is commonly used with lamb (or mutton) and is particularly good with venison, wild boar, and even domestic pork. You could even add them to a pot of chili, to give a rustic flavor that complements ground smoked chile peppers. Juniper is also a good flavoring to use with roast duck.
To bring out juniper berries’ slight citrus flavor, most recipes call for another fruit such as apples or prunes to be added. You can rub crushed juniper berries into a meat of your choosing before roasting it. Add a little ginger or garlic to the rub for a savory flavor. Or you can stew the berries before marinating or basting the meat with them.
If you love cooking meats , head to http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/juniper_berries and check out some amazing recipes using Juniper Berries.
Hope this post was an interesting and informative read!
Sources used for reference: (Pictures of the plant from google for your reference)