In a gin preparation there are several components that play a fundamental role to ensure the flavor that characterizes this alcoholic beverage. Juniper fruits are probably the most important of all ingredients. However, very few consumers are aware of their existence and much less understand their role in distilling the liquor they drink. At Bruni Collin’s we briefly explain some relevant aspects about juniper fruit so you can be more informed about the details behind each bottle of gin you consume.
What are juniper berries or fruits?
Juniper fruits are relatively small, purplish berries of multi-continental origin, growing naturally in Europe, North America and some mountainous areas of Asia.
To be able to bloom quite specific environmental conditions are needed, since humidity and cold have to be present for most of the year for the fruits of this shrub to prosper.
The trees scientific name is Juniperus Communis. Its high is usually between one and two meters. Although this estimate can vary considering that there are more than 60 varieties of juniper trees around the world. The appearance of juniper is almost unmistakable because the leaves are thin, elongated and look like pointed needles.
The juniper fruit maintains a spherical shape with a greyish color during its growth, but at maturity they take the characteristic bluish or black tone that defines them, very similar to the color that occurs in blueberries.
Juniper fruit utilities
Juniper fruits stand out in the botanical world for the fact that they have utilities to attend all kinds of needs of the consumer. Since time immemorial it has been part of the food culture of those who discovered its potential as culinary seasoning. The following categories are a grouping of the broad spectrum of uses that can be given to juniper fruits in the context of the 21st century:
1. Medicinal botany
In medicinal botany it has been discovered that the fruits of juniper have diuretic properties that benefit the balanced functioning of the renal system. The popular belief about this plant in the past was that it increased physical resistance, which is logical knowing that it also has anti-inflammatory properties that are used in both oral infusions and topical ointments. An antiseptic utility and a potential as pulmonary expectorant complete the advantageous picture that usually conforms to the fruits of juniper when it comes to using it in naturopathic medicine.
2. Alcoholic distillation
Juniper fruits are the main flavouring and possible flavouring of gin. In turn, its use in the field of alcoholic distillation extends much further, since historically juniper, as these berries are known, is also used for the maceration and aromatization of Finnish beers.
3. Gastronomic ingredient
The citrus hints that combine bitterness and sweetness in the ripe juniper fruits have made it an element that is increasingly interesting for gastronomic experimentation. It is not unusual to find it as a contrast in desserts that are close to the impalement of the palate with its other ingredients. In addition, its presence in food is much more solid when talking about the consumption of meat. This because for a couple of centuries it is an essential element in the seasoning of sauces and fillings for venison, turkey, chicken and lamb.
Is it advisable to consume juniper fruits frequently?
The fruits of juniper are not a harmful element for health, as you may have noticed in its wide variety of utilities in the field of naturopathic medicine.
However, it is preferable that you limit your consumption to a more occasional level if you suffer from intestinal pathologies or if you are a diabetic patient since its frequent consumption can change the levels of sugar in your blood.
If you are in treatment for some psychiatric pathology, it is also preferable that you consult with your doctor the level of consumption that you can have with this berry, because it handles anti-stress effects that can counteract the pharmacological scheme that you are receiving.
Apart from these two circumstances, there are no recommended limitations on consumption of juniper fruits. Although it takes into account that everything in excess ends up bringing serious consequences for the integral health of the human body. So the best thing to do is opt for a cool bottle of Bruni gin if you’re interested in tasting juniper occasionally when you meet friends to celebrate or catch up on the fun events of their lives.