- Berries (modified cones) – Most species not mentioned here (and also the fruit of the Common Juniper, J. communis) have fruits which are too astringent and bitter to eat raw. However, the fruits of the species listed here, especially J. drupacea, can be eaten fresh. The berries are most common dried and then crushed, and are considered a highly regarded spice. A little goes a long way. Used as a flavoring in many vegetable and meat dishes. Also used as a flavoring agent in some beers and, most famously, gin.
- New Leaf Shoots – used as flavoring and used for tea
- Seeds – roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute (J. communis, J. scopulorum)
- General insect pollen plant
- Wildlife food
- Pioneer Species – this is a slow growing species, so it is not ideal for land that we desire to turn into a Forest Garden right away; however, it can be used on the outskirts of these areas that are more “wild”, i.e. Zones 3 and 4. If used in a Forest Garden, take into consideration the time it will take to grow.
- Drought Tolerant Plant
- Hedge Plant
- Groundcover – really just the Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
- Some species have highly aromatic woods (especially Eastern Juniper/Redcedar)
- Larger species produce great wood for fence posts (especially Eastern Juniper/Redcedar)
- Wood may also be used for lumber, tools, crafts, firewood, and traditional bows
Yield: 20-25 lbs (9-11 kg)
Harvesting: Autumn (October-November). Berries are picked when they are at about 18 months if the plant is in its native range, some will be ripe at 12 months, but some can take up to 3 years to mature. Berries are ripe when they darken.
Storage: Use fresh berries right away. Dried berries can last for years, but lose potency the longer they are in storage.