Learn About Juniper Berries

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Juniper Berries?

Juniper berries are a tree-grown fruit originating from juniper trees.  The berries are small, round, and may come in either green or purple.  The only difference between green and purple juniper berries is their age.  As juniper berries age, they turn from light green to purple.  Most people tend to use purple juniper berries more than green berries in cooking.  Juniper berries have a citrusy smell.

What Do Juniper Berries Taste Like?

Juniper berries taste fresh, like pine, and citrusy.  Some juniper berries may contain a little spice.

Learn About Juniper Berries
Juniper berries in a bowl.

How Do You Eat Juniper Berries?

Use fresh or dried purple juniper berries when cooking.  Juniper berries add flavor and texture to stews, sauces, glazes, and marinades.  Meat or vegetable dishes, such as pork or potatoes, pair well with juniper berries.  Juniper berries usually make a crust for different savory foods.  While juniper berries are not typically used in desserts, people use them to make tea, drinks, cakes, and jam.

Where Can You Buy Juniper Berries?

You may not be able to find fresh juniper berries in your grocery store, though they may be available in late summer to early fall.  Look for dried juniper berries in the spice aisle.  Some grocery stores may carry ground juniper berries, also found in the spice aisle.  Gourmet food stores may carry juniper berries.

How Do You Store Juniper Berries?

Store dried and ground juniper berries in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Fun Facts About Juniper Berries

Juniper berries have been a part of medical practices throughout the world.  Perfumes and aromatherapy use juniper berry essential oil as part of their formula.

Did You Know?

Juniper berries aren’t technically berries!  They’re cones that form a fruit-like skin around the seeds of the berry.

Recipes Using Juniper Berries

Juniper Berry Tea

Create a homemade tea our of juniper berries. Use a saucepan to bring water to a boil. Add juniper berries, turn off the heat, and steep for at least 15 minutes.

Juniper Berry Pancakes

Substitute juniper berries for blueberries in your next batch of pancakes. Make batter like normal, fold in juniper berries, and cook pancakes in a frying pan. Serve with maple syrup.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Upgrade your garlic roasted potatoes with juniper berries. Toss diced potatoes with olive oil, garlic, dried juniper berries, salt, and pepper together. Layer potatoes in a baking dish and bake until tender.

Meat Rub

Make a meat rub using dry herbs. Start with ground dried juniper berries, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and sage. When ready to use, combine with a bit of olive oil to spread over meat.

Easy Juniper Berry Glaze

Grab a saucepan and a few ingredients to make a sweet, sticky glaze. Add maple syrup, juniper berries, salt, and pepper and simmer until the glaze thickens. This glaze works well on chicken or dish dishes.


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