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Juniper Berries - Dried Herbs & Spices

A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice, particularly in European cuisine, and also give gin its distinguishing flavour.

All juniper species grow berries, but some are considered too bitter to eat. In addition to J. communis, other edible species include Juniperus drupacea, Juniperus oxycedrus, Juniperus phoenicea, Juniperus deppeana, and Juniperus californica. Some species, for example Juniperus sabina, are toxic and consumption is inadvisable.

Juniperus communis berries vary from four to twelve millimetres in diameter; other species are mostly similar in size, though some are larger, notably J. drupacea (20–28 mm). Unlike the separated and woody scales of a typical pine cone, those in a juniper berry remain fleshy and merge into a unified covering surrounding the seeds. The berries are green when young, and mature to a purple-black colour over about 18 months in most species, including J. communis (shorter, 8–10 months in a few species, and about 24 months in J. drupacea).

The mature, dark berries are usually but not exclusively used in cuisine, while gin is flavoured with fully grown but immature green berries.

USES

The flavour profile of young, green berries is dominated by pinene; as they mature this piney, resinous backdrop is joined by "green-fresh" and citrus notes. The outer scales of the berries are relatively flavourless, so the berries are almost always at least lightly crushed before being used as a spice. They are used both fresh and dried.

Mature purple and younger green juniper berries can be seen growing alongside one another on the same plant.

Juniper berries are used in northern European and particularly Scandinavian cuisine to "impart a sharp, clear flavour" to meat dishes, especially wild birds (including thrush, blackbird, and woodcock) and game meats (including boar and venison). They also season pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes. Traditional recipes for choucroute garnie, an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and meats, universally include juniper berries.

Gin was developed in the 17th century in the Netherlands. It was first intended as a medication; juniper berries are a diuretic and were also thought to be an appetite stimulant and a remedy for rheumatism and arthritis. The name gin itself is derived from either the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever, which both mean "juniper". Other juniper-flavoured beverages include the Finnish rye-and-juniper beer known as sahti, which is flavoured with both juniper berries and branches.

A few North American juniper species produce a seed cone with a sweeter, less resinous flavour than those typically used as a spice. For example, one field guide describes the flesh of the berries of Juniperus californica as "dry, mealy, and fibrous but sweet and without resin cells". Such species have been used not just as a seasoning but as a nutritional food by some Native Americans. In addition to medical and culinary purposes, Native Americans have also used the seeds inside juniper berries as beads for jewellery and decoration.

An essential oil extracted from juniper berries is used in aromatherapy and perfumery. The essential oil can be distilled out of berries which have already been used to flavour gin.

HISTORY

Juniper berries have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, including Juniperus phoenicia and Juniperus oxycedrus at multiple sites. The latter is not known to grow in Egypt, and neither is Juniperus excelsa, which was found along with J. oxycedrus in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

The berries imported into Egypt may have come from Greece; the Greeks record using juniper berries as a medicine long before mentioning their use in food.

The Romans used juniper berries as a cheap domestically-produced substitute for the expensive black pepper and long pepper imported from India. It was also used as an adulterant, as reported in Pliny the Elder's Natural History: "Pepper is adulterated with juniper berries, which have the property, to a marvellous degree, of assuming the pungency of pepper."

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 02 February, 2007.
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Welcome to Luminescents – The Organic Medicinal Herbs, Herbal Remedies, Healing Herbs, Botanicals and 100% pure Natural Essential Oils Super Site

Here at Luminescents we can supply hundreds of premium quality herbal teas, organic medicinal herbs, healing herbal remedies, and botanicals for professional and home herbalists alike. We are also well known for our exclusive handmade pillow sprays and massage oils. Our range of natural essential oils is second to none and we stock one of the largest selections available in Europe all delivered direct to your door. We also stock one of the widest range of culinary herbs and spices, as well as black, green and white leaf teas you’ll find online. Plus the distinctive and exclusive Luminescents range of perfumes, fragrances, gifts and beauty products to make us your first port of call to order unusual, rare and little known herbs and spices, as well as comfortingly familiar and precious essential and absolute oils. Simply shop online with your own secure personal account and keep track of your orders. You’ll just adore our beautiful fragrant products.

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Everyone loves a little bit of ‘me’ time to relax and unwind after a busy day and there’s no better way than to either submerge your body in the uplifting fragrances of favourite therapeutic essential oils like that of relaxing lavender, uplifting rosemary or soothing Ylang Ylang, or smother yourself, perhaps, in your favourite scent. Adding drops of your favourite essential oils to a luxurious bath, or mixing with carrier oils made from grapeseed, Sweet Almond and wheatgerm for a smooth, wonderful massage is the perfect antidote to stress, tension and an overworked mind and body. But there are all sorts of ways to relax, like our hand blended water dispersible bath oils in as many fragrances as you can think of, some aromatherapy inspired from traditional recipes or others simply some of the most treasured and highly prized scents and aromas in the World. Most are also available in ultra moisturising soaps too which will not only fragrance your bathtime but your bathroom too. Our handcrafted Pillow Sprays are an ideal way to surround yourself in a haze of your favourite aroma as you drift off or whilst you are asleep.

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Luminescents stock a fantastic range of creams, gels and body lotions including the ever popular face and hand creams, Rose and Frankincense and Neroli and Aloe. We even have cosmetic fruit extracts for you to have fun creating your very own cosmetics. Try our kiwi liquid extract added to some base cream to add and extra skin nutrition. To compliment the essential oils and beauty products, we also offer professional standard practitioner boxes, incense burners, tealight displays and floral waters.

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We aren't only known for our Organic Medicinal Herbs but also carry a really huge stock of culinary herbs and spices from hard to find Lovage, Chervil and Savory to spice mixes like Sumac, Ras el Hanout and Baharat which you won't find in supermarkets right down to the more familiar herbs and spices at far more reasonable prices by volume that you might expect. So why not experiment with your cooking and improve your culinary skills. There’s nothing nicer than mixing up a concoction of delicious herbs and spices to enjoy at home. Everyone has their own particular likes and dislikes when it comes to flavours, and being able to measure out your favourite herbs and spices or experiment with something new to suit your own tastes, is a treat not to be missed.

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Whether you’re looking for rare and tricky to source pure natural essential oils, organic medicinal herbs or culinary herbs and spices, or maybe even a speciality tea, we’re confident that Luminescents will already have it in stock or its on our stock list. Take a good look around our online shop and order your favourite crystals, resins and organic medicinal herbs today. You’ll be amazed at the sheer number of wonderful products we have at Luminescents online. Order direct from our secure online shop, or email us at info@luminescents.co.uk.

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