When I was a child I used to stay at my Grandpa’s in the village of Kus near Qafë Krrabë. Some family friends used to bring him some bags full of tiny red berries. I learned they were called juniper. In the months of September to October, my family used juniper juice as a treat. It is magic- they said.
The juice was like beer but bubbly. In Central Albania they call it Hardiç, while the name of this magical fruit is Juniperus. The name is used in several districts all over Albania but only when it comes to the gin and alcoholic beverage produced from the fruit. Juniper is magical, because its juice can be easily used in your homes to cleanse kidneys, urinary tract, deal with stomach problems and also cleans lungs. At the New Bazaar in Tirana you can buy juniper for 300-400 ALL/kg. If you buy at least two-three kg you should wash the berries well and take the leaves out. You can use 4-5 liters of water per one kg of juniper fruits. Put them in a glass container and cover them with water. Keep them in a dark, dry place for at least 40 days and then you can drink the juice.
The drink – as I mentioned it before- is called Hardiç. Its preparation is tricky. If you decided to take a liter of juice from the glass container you have to replace it with one liter of water. This must be done until you realize that the juice quality is not as in the beginning.
Beneficial values of Hardiç
Juniper is a rich source of several organic acids important for the human body, sugars, selenium, calcium and potassium. Lungs are the main beneficiaries of the magic juice. Often juniper is used to clean the bronchi from infections and secretions. Stomach is the second beneficiary because Hardiç provides assistance in digestions and some ulcers.
Hardiç is also used to cleanse kidneys and heals cists on women. Hardiç is also used to lower cholesterol, diabetes and excessive water in the body.
Oil extracted from Juniper can also be used for muscular spasms relief. /AgroWeb.org
*Rezarta Delisula is Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Gazeta Shqiptare working as a journalist since 1998. With 17 years of professional experience, her stories mainly focus on social concerns and environmental issues. Rezarta is also an organic products avid and gardening passionate, largely interested in green lifestyle. She is a contributing writer at agroweb.org.