Juniper

“Jennifer Juniper, lives upon the hill
Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still

Is she sleeping? I don’t think so
Is she breathing? Yes, very low”

Donovan, 1968, I remember it well.  But, on to the plant with a long history of use.  The Greeks used Juniper berries for medicinal purposes. In fact, juniper berries were found in a number of ancient Egyptian tombs.  Not native to Egypt, it is believed that the berries were imported from Greece.  On to its use in foods as a condiment.  The Romans used the berries as a substitute for the very expensive black pepper that had to be imported from India.  Without refrigeration, meats that were past their prime, required strong spices to be tolerable.  Spice was a huge market back in ancient days.  Juniper berries are still used today as flavoring.  With wild game in particular, the berries mask the gamey taste of the meat.  And, least us not forget the berries use as the distinctive flavoring agent in gin.

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