Juniper Berries: Where Pine Meets Rosemary Monday, December 30 2013
Juniper berries aren't actually berries at all, but rather the female seed cone of different types of junipers that has an appearance similar to a berry. You can use them both fresh and dried, but fresh berries have the most flavor and aroma. Juniper berries are used heavily in European cuisine and add a nice accent to meat dishes, especially pork and lamb.
Juniper berries have been used throughout most of human history, they have been discovered in Egyptian tombs and praised in the texts of Ancient Greece. These berries possess an amazingly rich pine flavor that is similar to rosemary. Known as a primary ingredient in gin, these little berries pack a real punch.
To use juniper berries in your kitchen, put a tablespoon or so in a zipper lock bag and lightly crush them with wine bottle, rolling pin or meat mallet. Once flatten, you can use your chef's knife to chop into smaller pieces. Try rubbing juniper and crushed garlic onto meat before you sear or cook it to spice up your next roast.