high desert test kitchen
december ingredient: california juniper
december 19, 2016


I've never decorated my home for the holidays (I know, what a grinch), but all of the small cuttings I've severed from the California Juniper bushes growing on my land are beginning to accumulate, so I might just have a tree by the end of the season. The scent is a nice reminder that winter is arriving, despite being masked by the eternal Mojave sun.

For our December dinner, I invite you to take a winter whiff and explore the hearty culinary applications of California Juniper, a large tree-like shrub growing on the rocky slopes of this area in elevations up to 5000'. You might find it growing around Joshua Trees, as it is here in Pipes Canyon, or more commony, with Pinon Pine. The flavor is familiar to gin drinkers, and hits citrus notes as they take a turn for the bitter. I think it pairs fantastically with dairy, and historically, it's lauded as the essential seasoning for wild game. So take a shot...any kind, you can't go wrong! —Sarah Witt

PLEASE NOTE: If you plan to participate in this month's dinner, make sure to read up on Juniper, as it does have a few medicinal properties that can interact with some health conditions, including pregnancy. Please check out some of the resources listed on Sarah's website if you are interested in cooking with the plant, or feel free to contact Sarah if you have any questions.

If you want to join us, but aren't able to contribute a Juniper-related dish, that's okay! Feel free to bring a beverage, bag of chips, or any other dish...we'll need those too! 

Monday, December 19th at 7pm
Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center
65336 Winters Road, Joshua Tree, CA