Sunday, 3 August 2014

Juniper Berries "Calico Carrots" - Dinner on "J" Day

It's dinner time on "J" day and I'm using JUNIPER BERRIES

I made Calico Carrots. Calico carrots are calico because they are mixed with potatoes making them a calico colour. This side dish is so aromatic with a foresty fragrance and a woodsy flavour. It would make a perfect accompaniment to roast lamb or pot roast. Yummy!

Servings: 4


3 medium carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 medium potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold (or another yellow variety), peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 shallot, halved and sliced thin (1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme, divided
4 Juniper berries, crushed fine
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste


Arrange a double-boiler over simmering water. Cut carrots and potatoes into similarly sized pieces so that they will cook evenly. Transfer to steamer basket; cover and cook until the tip of a knife will pierce the centres with ease, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, half the thyme and the juniper berries. (The oil mixture will be used to dress the carrots and potatoes, so don't be alarmed if it seems like too much oil). Cook slowly, stirring often, until the shallots are very soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside, but keep warm.

When the carrots and potatoes are cooked through, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon and season with the salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or large fork to smash the vegetables into a rough texture. Taste the mixture for salt and pepper. Adjust if necessary.

Stir the remaining thyme into the cooked shallot mixture and pour the dressing over the carrots and potatoes. Mix thoroughly but lightly, to preserve the separate orange and white colours. Serve hot. 



These berries are the medicinal part of a juniper berry plant and are actually not true berries, but the dark blue-black scales from the cones of the shrub. Junipers are mainly used for their volatile oils, which contain tannins, sugar, flavonoid glycosides, resin tar and terpenes. Other nutrients of the juniper berry include copper, chromium, calcium, iron, lomonese, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C. 

They are used as a diuretic and due to their antiseptic effect, are often used in cases of chronic urinary tract infections. They are also helpful if your kidneys are moving sluggishly and urine isn't flowing freely. (But not to be consumed if you have kidney infections or disease) Another use of these berries has been to treat weakness of the bladder or urethra muscles. 

Juniper berries are also recommended for joint pain, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and nerve, muscle and tendon disorders. 

As these berries are potent, it is only recommended to consume them for about a month at a time and abstain for a week to 10 days before restarting again. 

Juniper's oils have been concentrated and used topically for coughs and lung congestion. They have also been used by herbalists to to improve uterine tone and late or slow-starting menstrual periods. 

As if this wasn't enough, Juniper Berries also relieve gas in the digestive system and increase stomach acid when insufficient. 

Have you cooked with Juniper Berries?

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