Thursday, 11 April 2013

A-Z Blogging Challenge --"J"

 Well, Hello there!!! I am so pleased that you stopped by  to visit!

    For the past many years I have had an, make that a fascination with herbs, spices and seasonings. - About how they were used by our ancestors centuries ago for a variety of ailments, and how they are used today to enhance your favorite recipe.

With this in mind I am attempting to present a different herb, spice or seasoning  for each day of the  A-Z Challenge. Please drop by often and perhaps we both will learn something new.

Learn more about these terms;

                                                  "J" is  for Juniper Berries      



A juniper can be a low lying shrub to 30 foot tree. The leaves of the common juniper are long, sharp and needle-like. Female flowers develop into the juniper berries and are used for spices and teas.
Junipers primary food use is a seasoning. It adds spice flavor to sauerkraut and potato salads.
Juniper marinade is excellent for moose, venison, rabbit,  and poultry. Vegetarians can also try it with tofu.
In Scandinavian countries seeded juniper berries are made into jam and used with bread or biscuits.
In Britain and France, the berries are a pepper substitute and a base for making beer. In the U.S. and elsewhere, juniper berries  are used to give gin its characteristic flavor. The immature female fruits are highest in the desired oils and best for flavoring spirits.
photo credit:

Although a pleasant nonalcoholic beverage can be made from the berries it is important to note that they should not be taken on a regular basis. When serving juniper tea prepare in and uncovered teapot to allow the potent volatile oils to escape.

Medicinal Uses:

Because of its diuretic properties, juniper is used my herbalists for urinary tract and bladder infections.
Because juniper's essential oils can be irritating to the kidneys, the herb is commonly buffered 
with herbs soothing and softening to body tissues. Juniper blends are used for a variety of complaints ranging from fluid retention and gas to poor appetite and stomach cramps.

A milder form of the juniper oil .... made by soaking the berries in olive oil... can be used as a massage oil for strained muscles or aching joints.

A word of caution: juniper should NOT be taken internally by pregnant women or by those with kidney problems.  Used in moderation, as all seasonings should be, the herb should provide no problems for those in normal health. It is advised to consult a physician before  taking this herb for a medical condition.

Source: Raven's Ruff Stuff And Other Things

(Author's note: Many thanks to the amazing site mentioned above for her knowledge)


  1. I don't think I have ever had juniper berries. I am not a huge gin fan. Interesting post though.

    1. Thanks anothercleanslate, I am with you, but it fit the slot. Glad you commented.

      Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

  2. Hubby drinks gin so knew Junipers were used for flavouring. Didn't know about the other uses though. Amazing what you can learn doing this challenge.


    1. Thanks, Jo. You knew more than I did. I had gin once,,,, a number of years ago... I agree with the learning that is taking place with the challenge.Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

  3. Yeah for juniper berries! Yeah for gin! Yeah for Belgian genever!

  4. I've heard of juniper berries, but I don't believe I've even seen them. I wonder if they are around southern NB? They sound like one of those herbs one must be very careful with, even though they seem to have many benefits. Perhaps that's why they're spiky, so the animals stay clear?
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

    1. You are most likely right, Kathy. Never thought of that. I'm not sure if there are any in this area or not.

  5. You learn something every day. . .