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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Unique Holiday Superfood: Juniper Berries

Juniper berries: an untapped superfood

Did you know that juniper berries are a superfood? These tiny little seeds are not given the attention they deserve. Traditionally used in the preparation of Gin (Jenever) and as an earthy spice for meat and vegetable dishes in European cooking, juniper is also a wonderful medicinal herb.

The juniper evergreen tree produces a berry that is bitter when eaten fresh, though full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. Brew a hot cup of dried juniper berry tea and you will be rewarded with improved kidney function, digestive health and joint flexibility. These tiny berry-like seeds pack a great punch in reducing water retention, easing bloating, and reducing arthritic inflammation. A natural diuretic, juniper works very well as a remedy for urinary tract infections, cystitis and menstrual cramps. 

The essential oil of juniper is excellent for relieving toothaches and a juniper poultice can brighten the skin, healing acne and other skin problems, including fungal infections. Some evidence points to its ability to aid in weight loss by detoxifying, purifying and cleansing the body. It may even turn back the clocks of time by revitalizing the muscles and toning the skin. What a superfood indeed! Pick up an ounce next time you’re Bazaar spice shopping~

*Juniper is a powerful herb and should be used in moderation and is contraindicated in pregnancy as it facilitates uterine contractions.

Try this traditional Juniper Recipe



5 pounds green cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons pickling salt
1 tablespoon juniper berries
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 quart water, in a sanitized glass jar


In large mixing bowl, mix cabbage thoroughly with salt, juniper berries, and caraway seeds, using hands or tongs. If using your hands, make sure that they are very clean prior to mixing. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Pack cabbage mixture down into a large plastic food container. Top with a lid smaller than the opening of the container and place a glass jar filled with the quart of water on top of the lid. Place in cool area overnight (65 to 70 degrees F). In a day, the cabbage should have given up enough liquid to be completely submerged. The jar serves as a weight to keep the cabbage submerged and away from air.

Check cabbage every other day for approximately 2 weeks and skim the surface of scum, if necessary. Let stand for 4 weeks. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Recipe courtesy of the FoodNetwork.com


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