How to Collect Juniper Berries

Overview

Juniper berries have had medical and culinary applications for hundreds of years. Greeks, Roman and Arab doctors used it as a remedy for various problems. In fact, juniper berries are even mentioned in the Bible. If you grow a common juniper tree in your yard, also known as Juniperus communis, you can harvest juniper berries for your own uses. Juniper is used as the main flavoring ingredient in gin, although it can be used in cooking as well.

Step 1

Watch for the juniper berries to ripen. Ripe juniper berries will be dark blue and plump. Squeeze a berry between your fingers. If it squishes easily, the berries are ripe and ready to be picked.

Step 2

Pick each berry individually from the tree and place them in a basket.

Step 3

Wash the juniper berries in warm, soapy water before eating them. Rinse them well with cool water.

Step 4

Use juniper berries as soon as possible after you collect them for the best flavor.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not pick juniper berries if you do not know what kind of juniper tree you have. Juniperus communis is the only common form of juniper that is edible; other forms of juniper can be poisonous.

Things You'll Need

  • Basket
  • Liquid soap

References

  • Encyclopedia of Spices: Juniper
  • The New York Times: Juniper Berries? Be Picky

Who Can Help

  • Juniperus communis
Keywords: harvest juniper berries, pick juniper berries, juniper berries

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance for over a year and her focus' are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Hollan taught English in Japan. She has a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.