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Wild Foraged Juniper Berries

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Not actually berries, juniper berries are cones with scales so miniature and packed down that you can’t even see them. Most famous for flavoring gin, the flavoring can be very strong and have a slightly turpentine-like finish. The juniper that is grown most often in the wild in central and eastern North America is called eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and is much smaller than that of the common juniper. It’s also sweeter and less harsh, without those “turpentine” gin notes. The berries can be eaten dried, fresh, chopped, or powdered to impart a sharp, peppery flavor. Grind and sprinkle them on meats, make a juniper sugar for blueberry scones, or try chocolate sables with juniper sugar for a treat that’s not too sweet and more on the order of a European-style biscuit cookie. Juniper berries are also a traditional ingredient in making German sauerkraut and they pickle well on their own. 

Note: Fresh juniper can have strong antiviral and other medicinal properties. If you are pregnant or under medications consult your physician before consuming.

Meadows and More, Hunterdon County NJ

Founder Tama Matsuoka Wong is a forager, weed eater, meadow doctor , lawyer and mother of three. She is the author of the backyard field guide and cookbook Foraged Flavor (Clarkson Potter June 2012) nominated for a James Beard award in 2013. After graduating from Harvard Law School and serving more than 25 years as a financial services lawyer in Tokyo, New York and Hong Kong, she returned with her family to Hunterdon County New Jersey and rediscovered her passion for the natural world. In 2007 she was named Steward of the Year by the New Jersey Forest Service. For media coverage about her work see Media page.

The practices used by Meadows & More are founded on a profound connection to and stewardship of the land. They cull invasive and nonnative adventive plants, aka weeds, and restore native plants and biodiversity, in collaboration with private landowners, organic farmers and conservation groups.


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