What are Juniper Berries and How are They Used?
Juniper berries are the female seed cones produced by the various species of juniper or coniferous trees. When juniper berries mature, they turn a deep, dark blue color. These are the ones usually used in cuisine. On the other hand, fully grown but immature juniper berries are the ingredient that gives gin its distinctive flavor. Mature juniper berries have a distinctive fresh flavor with distinctive citrus notes. Juniper berries are used in northern European and particularly Scandinavian dishes. They are added to meat dishes, especially wild birds and game meats, especially in boar and venison. The next time you serve pork, cabbage or sauerkraut dishes, think of adding juniper berries. Choucroute garnie, an Alsatian dish containing pork, cabbage and sauerkraut would not be the same without juniper berries. Besides Norwegian and Swedish dishes, juniper berries are also sometimes used in German, Austrian, Czech and Hungarian cuisine, often with roasts. Even the northern Italians in the Alto Adige region use juniper berries in their dishes and cuisine.