Monday, May 8, 2017
Juniper Berries - 'Juniperus communis' - fam: Cupressaceae
Although it is not a true berry, but a 'cone', with unusually fleshy, and merged scales, it has a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice, particularly in European cuisine, and also give gin its distinctive flavour. 1 The cones usually ripen to a reddish color or blue-black.
Widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, this genus contains around 60 species of evergreen coniferous shrubs and trees and belongs to the cypress (Cupressaceae) family. With a stately habit and impressive foliage that offers both color and texture, many of the species offer high ornamental value in the garden. They are long-lived, and the larger trees are valued for their timber, which is used to make small objects; he timber is also an important fuel source in many remote areas. Juniper berries are edible. 2
Juniper berries are used in northern Europe, particularly in Scandinavian cuisine, to impart a sharp, clear flavour to meat dishes, especially wild birds (including thrush, blackbird, and woodcock) and game meats (including boar and venison). They also season pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes. Traditional recipes for 'choucroute garnie', an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and meats, universally include juniper berries. Besides Norwegian and Swedish dishes, juniper berries are also sometimes used in German, Austrian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian cuisine, often with roasts (such as German sauerbraten). 1
REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1 Gardening Australia 2