Wild berry picking in January? Yep, juniper/cedar
Surprisingly, one of the most common questions I get when folks find out that I'm a forager and a Permaculture practitioner is about juniper or cedar berries. Where I live, the cedar trees are Juniperus virginiana and we have a lot of juniper as landscaping plants (some have berries). I guess a lot of folks see those beautiful, blue berries and wonder if they are edible. Yes, they are! They are very good, just eaten out of hand - sweet and piney. You can use them in many recipes - especially game. You can make jam. But, my favorite is an infused gin. Just toss a handful in a bottle of vodka and let them infuse... like a tincture. They are crazy high in Vit C and other antioxidants. I've been snacking on them regularly all winter. True vermouth comes from old medicinal herbed wine recipes the monks used to make. And, tonic water was used by the Brits as a quinine treatment against malaria and other viruses. If you drink, what could be more medicinal (and delicious) than home made infused gin in a martini or with tonic? Oh, and a little gin, dill and salt on a salmon fillet, left int he fridge for a while... wow!