View Full Version : Help! Question about juniper berries
11-17-2001, 09:33 AM
I am wondering if anyone knows if you can just go pick berries off of a juniper bush for a recipe, or do you have to go buy them somewhere? I don't want to just run out and pick them if they aren't the same thing or are poisonous or something!
I am brining a turkey again this year and using the same recipe as I did last year (from the SF chronicle). I didn't put any juniper berries in my brine last year because of the above mentioned questions, but this year I'd like to try it, if possible.
Also, we are having our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, so a quick response is really appreciated!!!
11-17-2001, 10:16 AM
This si what the Food Companion from Wm-S says:
...Use the berries whole; toast them lightly first and then crush them before adding to marinades or sauces.
And this is what Epicurious says:
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. These pungent berries are the hallmark flavoring of GIN. In fact, the name is derived from the French word for juniper berry — genièvre , which is the name for gin in France.
It would seem to me that you can use the berries from your own bush, just MHO.
11-17-2001, 10:27 AM
thanks for your reply!
:) I think I will just go pick some and then roast them until they look dried out.
The recipe only calls for a few, so I don't want to buy a whole bottle (if that's how they are sold). Plus, I couldn't find any at the store anyways.
11-17-2001, 04:19 PM
In case anyone is interested, I did go out and pick a few of these berries and then put them on a cookie sheet and baked them for about 10-15 min at 375. I then crushed them and added them to my turkey brine and they did have a very unique aroma. Of course, I wouldn't have known about the Gin connection if Sneezles hadn't enlightened me, but it did smell familiar.
11-19-2001, 02:05 PM
Did it make a difference to your turkey? You mentioned that you had made the same recipe last year. Could you tell? Not a big fan of gin myself...prefer vodka martinis, but would be interested to know how the berries worked in the brine.
11-19-2001, 03:02 PM
I could not really tell any difference from having those berries in the brine this year. It tasted great again, but if there was an effect it was unnoticable. Thanks for the info anyways!
04-23-2003, 12:16 AM
An old thread but another juniper berry question... Where can one find these (locally)? I need them on Thursday for the Shallot-Rubbed Steak recipe and have looked in the spice department of three grocery stores. Where are they kept in the stores? Would a health food store have them? Any help will be greatly appreciated. I don't have any junipers in my yard to steal from like Suzy did.
04-23-2003, 03:10 AM
I suppose this isn't much help if you've already tried three grocery stores, but I've seen them in jars with the other spices. I don't remember the brand, but I think it was just one of the standard ones like Schilling McCormick or Spice Islands.
04-23-2003, 09:18 AM
Originally posted by Peggy
I don't have any junipers in my yard to steal from like Suzy did.
I had to get them from a juniper bush at work, actually; not my own yard (because I don't like junipers and refused to plant any in our yard :o ).
I think since the original post, I did find some in the spice section at one time in a grocery store.
04-23-2003, 09:52 AM
Thanks for the responses. I'm headed to the health food store today for some rose water for that pineapple compote. Will check for the juniper berries whle I'm there. If they don't have them, I will assume they are available in this uncosmopolitan town. Then, I'll start hunting for a juniper bush or just leave them out of the recipe!:(
04-23-2003, 05:33 PM
I found them! I found them! The health food store was the answer. They had all kinds of interesting and unusual things in their bulk herb department. Can't beat the price, either. A half-ounce cost me all of $0.29!
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