Tip, Trick & a Recipe: Juniper Berries!

Not a true berry, juniper berries are actually the scales from the cones produced by juniper trees. Fragrant, spicy, and piney, Juniper berries are the kick and flavor behind gin, believe it or not. And in nutrition circles, these little gems get high marks for digestive help, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.

Here’s Today’s TRICK:

Dried crushed juniper berries add a nice punch to any kind of game, lamb, duck, or fowl. Try melting 1/2 cup of butter and adding a teaspoon of crushed dried juniper berries and place in the cavity of your bird—great flavor!

And here’s a TIP:

Juniper berries are additionally used as a supplement for diuretic purposes and to treat bladder infections. There is also a toxicity warning that comes with juniper berry usage (study conducted by North Carolina State University), so using juniper berry supplements should be discussed with your health care professional before using and should never be used if you’re pregnant or nursing.

And your RECIPE:

Juniper Berry Pork Loin

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Course Main Dish
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 1/2-2 quarts water
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 6-8 juniper berries crushed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 5-6 pound pork loin
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Instructions
 

  • First make a brine. In a medium saucepan, mix together first six ingredients on the stovetop. Stir until sugar dissolves; allow to cool. Add your pork loin to the mixture. Meat should be just covered, add water if necessary and refrigerate for at least a day; two days is better.
  • Remove pork from brine and wipe with paper towels and allow it to come to room temperature. In the meantime, oil grill and heat to medium-high heat. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary and brush on your brined pork.
  • Place pork on the grill and turn down to low. Turn to sear on both sides then only turn occasionally. Cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees to 145 degrees. Let rest 15 minutes before carving.
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