Strangely, I have been craving juniper this past year. It started late last Summer, upstate, with a series of wild cocktails and juniper stuffed trout. I have since experimented with a number of recipes and drinks, to which my friends can attest, as I have plied them with many a juniper tipped cocktail. I had never really incorporated juniper into my cooking in the past but now, I don't think I could live without it! It should really have come as no surprise to me that I would like it this much. I do, after all, love gin, that brilliant aromatic spirit, spiced with juniper and other aromatic herbs and spices. I discovered gin in my early twenties.(Right now my two favorites are Hendricks and Breuckelen Gin.) Juniper smells both medicinal and like the darkest forest floor. It is very complex. I have many Juniper recipes to share but for now I will post my current obsession; juniper pickled onions! Once you try them, there is no turning back.
Juniper Pickled Onions
(I added a few shallots to this recipe)
3 cups Japanese Apple Cider vinegar
(you can use Bragg's Raw Cider Vinegar if you want, I used what I had on hand)
1 tablespoon dried Juniper berries
1/2 tablespoon crushed Juniper berries (crush with mortar and pestle)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
3 tablespoons sugar
To make the brine:
Add the spices and sugar to the 3 cups of vinegar
Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot
Turn off and allow to steep for 20 minutes for the spices to infuse
In the mean time, thinly slice 2 medium red onions
After 20 minutes, heat the brine to a slow simmer.
Divide the onions into thirds and drop into the brine for 20 seconds.
Remove after 20 seconds with a slotted spoon and set aside.
The onions will turn a brilliant pink.
When all the onions have been run through the brine, turn it off an allow it to cool.
When cool put the onions in a Weck or Ball jar or some other airtight storage container and pour the remaining brine over the onions.
The pickled onions will last for a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.