Wild Things Round Up - Juniper

October has brought some strong winds, bright sun, lots of hard freezes, and a few snow storms to my region. Unfortunately, you all are at the mercy of my relatively extreme climate when it comes to Wild Things, because every month I need to choose a plant with which I can cook. By October, that's slim pickings around here.

But it isn't an impossible task.  The lower angle of autumn's sunlight heralds the arrival of one of my favorite spice cupboard staples, juniper.  As a person who will always choose dark meat over light, juniper is a natural pairing with the game meats that frequent my kitchen.  But its complex gin-like flavor also lends itself well to a surprising array of dishes, even sweets.  If you want to learn more about finding juniper, click through here.

This month's contributors to Wild Things have highlighted the versatility of juniper in the kitchen.  I hope you'll enjoy their creative recipes as much as I have.


Jamie at Update from Falcon Creek has a lot of ideas for ways to use juniper.  From breast massage oil, to tea, to smudge, to recipes for the Perfect Pot of Beans and Vegetarian Gumbo, you might be surprised by all the ways juniper can be used around the home.


I'm crazy excited to introduce you Jenny and Nicole of Pawpaws then Persimmons. Go have a look at their recipes using juniper-infused honey, Roasted Chestnuts drizzled in Juniper-Infused Honey and Juniper Persimmon Custard Pie, and you'll see why.


You might guess from the plentiful use of J. communis in their recipes that the folks at the 365 Kitchen are buddies of mine. You are correct.  We've shared many happy meals together.  That's why I can guarantee that these recipes are fantastic.

Haute Woods Bourbon

10 or so Juniper [Juniperus communis] berries, crushed
Pinch of black walnuts
Squeeze of honey
Your favorite Bourbon [I used Knob Creek]
Orange slices as garnish

Throw everything except the orange slices into a quart-sized mason
jar, and screw the lid on.  Shake vigorously until the honey is
dissolved.  Let steep as long as you can bear to wait!  Serve with a
few cubes of ice and an orange wedge.

Rocky Mountain Tequila

10 or so Juniper [Juniperus communis] berries, crushed
Generous handful of pomegranate seeds,
Squeeze of honey
Juice of 1/2 lime
A few slices of orange if you have them around
Tequila of your choosing... preferably a "silver" but "gold" is what
we had, and it had a nice smokey flavor to it

Throw everything into a quart-sized mason jar and muddle the
pomegranate a little to release the juices.  Shake to dissolve the
honey, and let it steep as long as you can wait.  Cheers!

Also, have a look at their recipes for Juniper-Sage Breakfast Sausage, Venison Backstrap with Lapsong Souchong Tea Rice, Quick-Pickled Red Onions with Juniper, Pickled Carrot Greens, Roasted Chicken with Juniper, and Caramelized Apples and Onions with Juniper.


Joanne of Honey Pot Herbals has shared her favorite way to use juniper.

Slow Cooked Deer Tenderloin or Steaks

Seasoned with Juniper Berries, wild ginger roots or leaves, and maple
syrup, yum!

Simmer deer meet in a pan over medium heat. When water is almost gone,
add more. Repeat this 2-3 times. After the first boil add onions,
juniper, and ginger. Quarter and core an apple and cook it along with
everything else. Add the maple syrup near the end of your last boil



Herbalist Henriette Kress has shared her recipe for Juniper Salmon.  She adds, "Also, do tuck the twigs under the fish, else they can catch on fire when you open the oven door. NOT funny."


My favorite foraging pal, Wild Food Girl, is also fond of our local juniper berries.  She has used them to make both Bathtub Gin, and Gin-Flavored Syrup.


Rebecca of Cauldrons and Crockpots has worked quite a bit of magic with juniper, too.  You'll love her recipes for Choucroute, and Juniper-Poached Pears, as well as her formula for making Juniper White Sage Incense.


Juniper is one of the local herbs that I reach to time and again for all sorts of cooking.  Here are a few of the things that I've cooked up with juniper.  Juniper Snickerdoodles, Fig Pizza with Juniper, Juniper-Rubbed Dove Kebabs, and Grapefruit Juniper Curd.


I'd like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who shared their favorite juniper recipes with the Wild Things Round Up this month.  You continue to inspire me with your excitement for cooking with wild foods.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with next month.

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