Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Zimbro - Gin and "it"


I have always kept a small stock of Juniper berries in the larder waiting for that moment when I might feel the need to wave my berry wand over a pork chop and turn something basic into a singular sensation.Juniper berries are a key ingredient of a lot of slow cooked Portuguese dishes and are particularly suited to Caça (hunting and game dishes) including Javali( wild boar) coelho (rabbit) and some pork dishes. Of course, juniper berries are probably most commonly known for the flavour they provide when making gin,but as a gout sufferer I  recently had a revelation that when a gout attack occurs, it is not too late to take juniper as it also contains helpful and effective anti-inflammatory properties, easing the pain and pressure of gout as well as arthritis in the joints. This may be why gin was once recommended to treat gout and arthritis (though it is now known that the alcohol in gin can actually negate any of the benefits of the juniper) so I won´t be rushing to the nearest liquor store for a bottle of Gordon´s,shucks!!! I will however be chewing on juniper berries daily.
In Portugal,The juniper variety grown is  the subspecies juniperus nana which is grown in  the highest points of the Serra de estrela  and Serra do Geres.

Juniper berry vinaigrette 
1/4 cup dry yellow mustard seeds
2 cups cold water
1 shallot
1 large garlic clove
1/2  bunch flat leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 ounce fresh marjoram
1/4 ounce fresh tarragon
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
In a heavy non-aluminum pan, bring the mustard seeds to a boil in the cold water. Simmer for 5 minutes to remove bitterness; then strain, discarding water. Lightly rinse the mustard seeds with cold water.
Put the strained and rinsed mustard seeds in a food processor. Add shallot, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, juniper berries, marjoram, tarragon, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; purée until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add additional olive oil. Season to taste with salt. Serve at room temperature.
Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups.

A bit of light relief... A much simpler approach to Juniper´s curative properties.The Kneipp’s cure for gout  (named after the German monk who documented it). The cure takes 23 days and it involves chewing and swallowing crushed Juniper Berries.The first day you take 4 berries, the second 5, and you increase by one berry until the 12th day when you’ll take 15 berries.From the 13th day decrease the number of berries you take by one each day until you come back to 4 berries on the 23rd day.

1 comment:

  1. I have an aunt who was a bit of a party girl in the 50s . . . and she couldn't understand why she got so merry after drinking Gin and It . . . not realising that the IT was alcoholic too!

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