Prepping Juniper for Gin?

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Rrmuf
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Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Rrmuf » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:50 am

Hi,
I recently found, identified and picked a pile of juniper berries with the intent of doing a gin with it. They are all a nice dark blue, I sifted and cleaned them all. Now, should I dehydrate them before using them in my gin basket with my neutral? Or should I use them fresh? Also, Does anyone know whether I can freeze them for later use?
-- Rrmuf

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Bushman
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Bushman » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:08 am

The ones I ordered for gin were dried. In using a dehydrator allow at least two days, air drying could take up to three weeks.

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Rrmuf
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Rrmuf » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:40 am

Thanks Bushman! The ones I bought previously were also dried so That's where I was heading , but all of a sudden I was wondering why would I remove flavour?

I learned a commercial distillery here will freeze the juniper berries but I am unsure as to whether those were fresh or dried berries.
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NZChris
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by NZChris » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:19 pm

I'd use some fresh and only dry what I wanted to keep for later.

If you do dry some, weigh them before and after to get a number you can use to calculate how much to use fresh in recipes that are for dried ingredients.

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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Bushman » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:02 pm

There is a lot of flavor in both dried and fresh. All the recipes I have seen for gin call for crushing the berry thus I am guessing at that point they are dry. I just did my run with dried berries and the flavor came through as strong as I want it to be.

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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Rrmuf » Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:29 am

Thank you both. Although I did the crushed / dried thing previously, which was fine, I will try a run with fresh. I will also do a before and after weigh-in to compare and can let you know here.

In general, I was surprised at how early and somewhat short-lived the juniper came through in the run. Made for a nice gin after blending though!
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Rrmuf
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Rrmuf » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:01 am

NZChris wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:19 pm
I'd use some fresh and only dry what I wanted to keep for later.

If you do dry some, weigh them before and after to get a number you can use to calculate how much to use fresh in recipes that are for dried ingredients.
FYI: 100g fresh juniper berries resulted in 72g when dehydrated.
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NZChris
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by NZChris » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:54 am

Thanks for that.

I'm trying to grow some from seed, with no success so far :(

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Rrmuf
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Rrmuf » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:55 am

NZChris wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:54 am
Thanks for that.

I'm trying to grow some from seed, with no success so far :(
So no Juniper in NZ then: I wonder if you just need a number of plants. Fields here in Canada are littered with them. I have my sister picking them from her (very rural) location so that I can make a batch for her with a regional connection. The difficulty is in separating the ripe berries from all the crap that falls off with it. This is what I've learned so far:

1. Only female plants have berries.
2. In our region the ratio between male or immature bushes to berry-producing female plants almost 10:1 (NZC: I don't know if you are at that point yet, but if you are growing bushes, that might affect the number of bushes you plant)

Picking them:

3. Ripe berries tend to fall off when you brush up against them with GLOVED hand while the green berries hang on. So I keep a shallow pan under branches to catch the falling matter as I brush the branch.

Separating:

4. Separating the berries from the rest of the chaff requires persistence! (I am open to ideas here). I could get rid of 80% of the chaff by continuously dumping DRY chaff/berry mix between buckets outside in a strong wind. The berries drop like a stone and alot of the chaff flies with the wind.

5. 80% of the effort went into removing the last 20% of the chaff in the form of little branches, needles. I finally determined that soaking the mix in a colander was helpful and then picking up small palmfuls of the mix, rolling the berries off my fingertips worked well. The wet berries rolled off;
the wet chaff stuck to my fingers.

This was my first stab at picking and processing juniper berries SO COMMENT/INPUT is welcome! It wasn't too onerous: I would say that it took max two hours of effort to pick and separate about 500g in fresh berries which should supply ~ 4 still runs so not too bad. To do it over again, I would definitely try to spend more time on the dry wind-fueled process with more volume and still work at the last 20%.... I am thinking of some tool to help me here. :-)

Anyhow, that is all I have: I look forward to my next Gin batch and I am researching the techniques for maceration.

Cheers.
-- Rrmuf

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Rrmuf
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by Rrmuf » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:58 am

NZChris wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:54 am
Thanks for that.

I'm trying to grow some from seed, with no success so far :(
NZC: I just ran into this. Have you read this?

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/germinate ... 25105.html

In any event, good luck!
-- Rrmuf

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NZChris
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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by NZChris » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:08 pm

I hadn't seen a method using boiled water.

I suspect the juniper I get may have been irradiated at the border, in which case I would have little chance of success.

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Re: Prepping Juniper for Gin?

Post by The Baker » Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:45 pm

My uncle planted a LOT of eucalyptus trees on his farm.
From seed.
From memory he soaked the seeds in VERY hot water for some time to prepare them for planting.

Geoff
The Baker

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