Harvest Juniper Berries - Tips on timing, execution & storage

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If you want to harvest juniper berries, you need a lot of patience. However, when the berries are ready to be harvested, many delicious delicacies can be conjured up.

Harvest juniper berries

Dozens of juniper species and varieties are available for the home garden. But until the first juniper berries show, many years can go into the country. Who would like to harvest juniper berries, should accordingly bring a lot of patience.

In addition, it is important to select the appropriate juniper species for the hobby garden, in order to be able to harvest the tasty berries after a few years. This is the variety Juniperus communis (for example, here at Amazon). We'll tell you which tips to consider when harvesting.

Male or female?

Before the harvest, it is important to ensure that the juniper berries. For this purpose, a male and a female specimen of the plant are needed so that the pollination can take their course. After all, only female or only male flowers are found on each of these shrubs. If the pollination was successful, it still takes three years for the pollinated plants to grow ripe berries. Technically, these are not berries, but rather cones. In the harvest year, the juniper berries are recognizable by their blue-black color.

When is the perfect harvest time for juniper berries?

After several years in the country and the cones of the juniper have turned blue-black, the late autumn offers itself for the harvest. By the way, not yet ripe juniper berries, which are not yet to be harvested, can be recognized by their green color. Thus, you can easily estimate when it is time to harvest the fresh juniper berries.

This is usually the case from the end of August or the beginning of September. The green berries should definitely remain on the bush and not be removed at this year's harvest. Because these berries need another year to mature and can then be harvested in the late autumn.

Collecting juniper berries - that's how it works without pain

The juniper is a very spiky contemporary. The many prickly leaves can lead to unsightly injuries, from which you can not protect yourself with gloves usually insufficient. Therefore, this method of harvesting rather offers:

  • Place a sufficiently large cloth immediately under the juniper
  • use a stick to knock against the branches of the juniper (but do not apply too much force, otherwise the plant could be damaged)
  • then the fruits fall down on the cloth
  • Now use gloves to look after the harvested fruit from branches and needles

During the entire harvest, it is also important to ensure that the juniper berries are not unnecessarily crushed or crushed. This is also important in the later storage of the berries, which still have to be dried.

Dry juniper berries after harvesting

Following the harvest, the juniper berries should be dried in an airy and shady spot. The complete drying process of juniper berries can take up to three weeks. For this purpose, a dark, as warm and dry as possible room, which should be sufficiently well ventilated at the same time. The progress of the drying process is best monitored daily.

All berries that look either brown or have holes should be disposed of as soon as possible. Because they are not edible and the holey juniper berries could even contain living insects. Therefore, immediate disposal is so important so that the pests can not attack the remainder of the harvest of juniper berries.

Store juniper berries properly

Later, the juniper berries are then best kept tightly closed, so they remain edible as long as possible. In each vessel, however, only completely dried juniper berries should be stored so that it may come in the possibly still slightly damp cones no mold growth. This could eventually spoil the entire crop of juniper berries.

"Expert Tip: In order to avoid this problem right from the beginning, it makes sense to divide the entire juniper berry harvest into several containers for storage.

When the berries are stored in a dry, airtight glass, this can be done in a dark, cool place for up to a year. Thus, the dried juniper berries will most likely last until the next harvest in late autumn.

How can juniper berries be used?

For cooking:

Thanks to their many essential oils, juniper berries are very popular as a spice. They go particularly well with hearty meals such as:

  • sauerkraut
  • meat
  • pastry
  • Wild marinades
  • other sauces

Also together with nuts and raisins the juniper berries taste very good.

As a medicinal plant:

In addition, juniper is known as a medicinal plant. Accordingly, there is even a saying that the juniper berries say that nine doctors would be stuck in these little cones. Especially in the past, the juniper berries were therefore used in the fight against the following diseases as tinctures, essential oils, as well as tea and syrup:

  • joint pain
  • digestive problems
  • infections
  • gynecological problems

For schnapps production:

There are also many producers of spirits who also harvest juniper berries in large quantities. They like to use the blue-black juniper berries to make various kinds of schnapps.

»Important note: If you want to use juniper berries in your own food for a certain spice, you should not overdose the berries. There is a good reason for that. Because too many juniper berries in the food can have a negative effect on the kidneys. A small dose is therefore recommended, especially as this is completely sufficient due to the strong aroma of juniper berries. People who are already suffering from kidney disease should, however, keep their hands off the tasty, aromatic juniper berries.

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