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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: erockrph on June 11, 2013, 10:03:07 am

Title: Juniper Berries
Post by: erockrph on June 11, 2013, 10:03:07 am
Anyone here have experience brewing with juniper berries? Some of my juniper bushes are covered with light blue berries right now. I crushed one open and got an instant craving for a Bombay Sapphire Martini. I'm not generally a fan exotic flavorings or spices in my beer, but I do like cooking and brewing with ingredients I've grown myself.

Any tips on how to use the berries, and when to harvest them? Right now the berries are pretty small and green, and they're covered with a waxy coating the consistency of cake frosting or a honey-glazed donut. As the season goes on the berries get darker and drier and the coating gets stickier (more the consistancy of pine resin). What I want is that fresh gin aroma, and I'm getting a lot of it right now, so I;m thinking of harvesting now before the berries start to dry out.

I probably won't be able to brew for another month or two, so I'm thinking of vacuum packing them and storing in the freezer until I'm ready to use them. Drying is the other option I was thinking of, but then I might as well just leave them on the bush for a while longer, right?

For the beer, I'm thinking a Saison with lemon zest and Centennial to go for that juniper-lemon-floral thing that I get from Bombay Sapphire.

So, enough rambling for now. If anyone's got any input I'd love to hear it.
Title: Re: Juniper Berries
Post by: erockrph on June 11, 2013, 10:04:55 am
Gratuitous juniper berry pics:
Title: Re: Juniper Berries
Post by: BrewArk on June 12, 2013, 11:18:24 am
I've looked @ mine the same way, but never got so bold as to try 'em. 
Title: Re: Juniper Berries
Post by: hubie on June 13, 2013, 12:51:56 pm
I need juniper berries for a sauerbraten recipe, but they are not easy to find at the local Megamart. The bit of looking I've done says that they are ripe when they are blue to purple, and people seem to harvest them in September/October.  It apparently takes three years to get to the ripe stage, and plants will have a mixture of berries in various stages of development. 

You need to pick them from the right species of plant.  A few are poisonous and a lot others are nasty tasting.  I don't know enough to know the difference between species, so I'm still looking locally for some from a store, but I just might have to order some from an on-line spice house.

Once source I found for info:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/garden/20qna.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/garden/20qna.html?_r=0)
Title: Re: Juniper Berries
Post by: tschmidlin on June 14, 2013, 01:26:28 am
Yeah, my "juniper" is an eastern red cedar. :(

I buy mine from a spice market, maybe I'll plant one eventually.
Title: Re: Juniper Berries
Post by: hubie on June 17, 2013, 10:17:48 am
I did find some after all at my local Megamart.  I had apparently missed them when trying to sort through the 14 linear feet of Mrs. Dash variations.  The ones in the bottle I picked up are very blue/purple.  They look like desiccated blueberries.
Title: Re: Juniper Berries
Post by: hoser on June 17, 2013, 11:09:36 am