Juniper - juniperus communis
The juniper is an evergreen tree of the cypress family. Its berries, when dried, become a deep purple colour. Juniper berries are used in the production of liquers and Swedish beer. It is a valued seasoning for meats.
A juniper berry tastes predominately of gin when bitten and chewed. There may be a slight aftertaste of bitterness.
How to Use:
Game birds, venison, duck, pork, ham, rabbit and lamb. It is also excellent in meat pates and terrines, marinades and barbecue seasoning. Also good with fruit cake, apple crumble and fruit tarts.
Grind the berries in a pepper mill and add to foods as you would pepper.
Medicinal uses: aids digestion, swollen joints, rheumatic pains, chest problems, kidney problems, strengthener of the brain and memory,
The Juniper has long been associated as a tree that is a protector and friend to those in trouble. There is a legend that Jesus was placed in the branches of a Juniper by His parents to hide him from Herod's soldiers. The soldiers, intent on finding a couple with a baby, passed by Mary and Joseph.
Venison with Sour Cherries and Juniper
This recipe also works well with pot roast
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves, crumbled
4 pound saddle of venison or pot roast
6 strips bacon
I onion sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 pound sour cherries, stoned
3 tablespoons red currant or cranberry jelly
1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
pinch of cinnamon
chicken stock, if necessary
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine half the oil with all of the lemon juice. Add salt and bay leaves. Brush or rub this mixture all over the meat. Let marinate for 2 to 4 hours. Place sliced onion in bottom of roasting pan. Arrange roast on top of onion bed. Place bacon strips across top of roast. Add the remaining oil and the wine to the pan. Place in oven and cook for 1 1/4 hours, basting frequently. Remove from roasting pan and let stand in a warm place. Remove any excess fat from the roasting pan. Scrape roasting pan sediment with a large spoon. Heat and stir the juices and sediment. Strain into a saucepan. There should be at least 2/3 cup of liquid. If there is less than this, top it up with chicken stock. Add the cherries, jelly and spices to the juices. Heat gently, Serve with the roast.