Edible juniper?

juniper
Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum
Q:

I'm trying to follow a recipe to create a chlorophyll cleanse which includes juniper. Which juniper plant is edible both leaves & berries?

- Lane County, Oregon
A:

Many conifer needles are used to make tea, usually due to their high level of Vitamin C. Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis‎) is found in central and eastern Oregon, and those berries are edible. I use crushed juniper berries in my turkey brine every Thanksgiving.

Though I see no problem using the needles in a tea, I think they would be very woody and hard to eat, even in a smoothie! Spring would give you the most tender, new shoots, which might be preferable.

I would stay away from ornamentals as you don't know if or what they have been sprayed with.

Nicole Strong
Coordinator, Master Woodland Manager/Woodland Workshops
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