Sunday, November 14, 2010

They LOOKED like huckleberries

Our church group had an ice cream social tonight. We were in charge of toppings--chopped nuts, whipping cream, chocolate syrup. And I figured I could make fruit sauce, too,if there were still huckleberries at the produce market.

This morning I found a wrinkled old lady perched on the sidewalk just outside the produce market, selling plastic bags full of the berries. They were only 2 KM, about $1--a fraction of the price I'd paid for huckleberries I bought a few weeks ago at the produce market. "I'll have to always buy from the people on the sidewalk," I thought to my frugal self. I bought 2 bags, figuring I'd freeze one for our family.

Then I took them home and sat down to sort through them before I started cooking. That was my first hint that something might be wrong. One of them was connected to an evergreen needle. And they seemed a little hard. I stuck one in my mouth and bit down. Instead of that succulent burst of huckleberry juice, it was grainy, and my mouth filled with the taste of Christmas tree--not gingerbread or candy canes but tree.

I think they're juniper berries. (At least last time I bought mystery food it was on purpose.)

Luckily our neighborhood supermarket had frozen cherries and berries, and I
cooked up 2 very nioe fruit sauces. But now I have two big bags of juniper berries. Any ideas?

I've been using Orangette as my go-to cooking source here, but she's no help on this one.


Ruth said...

HAH. The internet seems to think you should cook them with venison, duck, or wild boar (to be fair, there are also some chicken recipes). Or here's a recipe for potato gratin with pureed juniper berries in it:

Nathan said...

WOW! I'm jealous. I have a turkey recipe from epicurious that I'm trying this year that calls for juniper berries when you brine the turkey. I had to send away for mine on the internet. Here's the link, but I'll bet you could do it with chicken:

Andie said...

I've only ever seen them in recipes as a seasoning for meat, such as crushed in a lamb stew. Personally the only time I've ever used them is in curing bacon. I had to order them from a spice company!

Annette said...

Thanks! Not sure how to puree the juniper berries since we don't have our blender; otherwise, the potato gratin would be the perfect solution for our vegetarian. But we can definitely try using them with chicken. Nathan and Andie, do you want me to send some back with the kids to send to you or get to you when they see you? Oh. I suppose they probably wouldn't get past customs.