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Juniper or Ginevre are spices that blue bruise-coloured, small, round berries. Juniper is used to flavour gin and for cooking. Juniper tea is, ironically, a centuries old hangover remedy.

The juniper berries start out as green and hard berries that ripen over 2-3 years to a fleshy, blue-black berries, containing sticky, hard brown seeds. The berries are generally hand picked, then dried. On drying, the berries stay soft and blue-black

The aroma and flavour of juniper berries are mildly pungent, with both reminiscent of gin - woody, piny and resinous.

Juniper works really well in marinades, especially with rich, game meats - venison, pheasant and rabbit. Juniper accentuates the wild flavour of game and add a pleasant tartness long associated, e.g. stuffed goose and beef stews. Juniper is good in sauerkraut.

Substitute: substitute juniper with gin.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.