Quest for Local Flavors
Making some California Juniper Berries Syrup. Same technique as making the unripe pinyon pine cones syrup by mixing the fresh berries with brown sugar.
For the unripe pine cones, I used a mix of 50% cones and 50% sugar with juice of one lemon then leave in the sun for 3 weeks (Quart jar). The sugar extract the juice and makes a syrup that taste heavenly.
For California Juniper berries I used a similar technique. I always use the local berries when unripe because they have pine/lemony flavors. Ripe berries don't have much flavors and in the best circumstances taste pretty much like a mild sugar (which is cool in itself). Like unripe pine cones, the unripe berries have some humidity in them, so the idea is for the sugar to extract that humidity and create a syrup over time.
THIS MAY NOT WORK WITH OTHER TYPES OF JUNIPER BERRIES BTW and not all juniper berries are edible. So you need to know what you're doing before adventuring in this area. Our berries (Juniperus californica) are a bit special with being edible and flavorful when unripe.
For this recipe, I also added the juice of one lemon to keep the process acidic and thus avoid botulism. Probably not a must as I did a PH test on the juniper berries and they have a PH (acidity scale) of around 4.0 but I like to err on the side of caution. I'm also a food safety advisor so I like to check all this stuff.
Botulism can not occur in an acidic environment (that's why pickling works). Anyhow, the whole process is still experimental but I have no doubt it will work.
Here is what I did:
1 pint jar
1/3 of pint jar loaded with fresh or frozen large unripe California juniper berries
1 crushed fermented limes (optional, I just love the flavors)
Rest of the jar filled to the top with brown sugar.
Then juice of one lemon on top and close the jar.
Place jar in the sun for 2-3 weeks. Keep going until most of the sugar has turned into a syrup.
I like to have to have 2 layers of berries with sugar in between. I think it helps with extracting their juice.
Will update on the resulting flavors but I don't see why it would not be awesome. #wildfoodlove #syrups #juniper #foodpreservation #foraging