Juniper berries used for teas, tonics, medicines and spicesCrystal Calhoun
Here’s another excellent Green Deane video on “Eat The Weeds”. In this video he talks about how the Juniper “berry” is used to make teas, medicines & tonics such as Gen using the cone shaped berries from the juniper tree.
Some of it gets confusing because there are other plants called the Juniper that are not the same as the edible juniper tree that makes the gen tonic drink. Some are even deadly, so if you don’t know one juniper from another – it’s best to stay away until you do know one from another!
Not all Juniper berries are edible. Avoid small landscaping juniper plants/bushes. It’s hard to tell the junipers apart. What you do want to use is the BIG juniper tree berries.
Berries are used as a spice for flavoring commonly used in German dishes. The tea made from the berries is used as a medicine for gout & diuretic purposes. The berries have yeast on them which can be extracted and used for bread and alcohol.
Green Deane offers a LOT more information on the Juniper, how to find the right one and some history behind it.
As a group activity you may try foraging in your own backyard or at a state park with your kids and see what edible plants you too can find. But don’t eat any plant if you don’t know for 100% sure what it is and that it is safe.
I read recently from a foraging book where the author of the book pointed out that you would know an orange or a banana just by looking at it. So too when you become familiar with the weeds and you know that you know what it is, and that it is safe, that’s when it’s a good and safe time to eat the weed. Otherwise keep studying the plants so that you can become more and more familiar with them. If you do practice – finding edible foods in the backyard will become as easy to spot out as a orange or a banana – imagine that!