Juniper berries are a fragrant fruit that are regarded as a spice. They are used to flavour gin, imparting a flowery spicy flavour. Juniper can also be used to spice meats, particularly strong dark meats such as venison or beef.
Juniper berries are typically used in meat marinades, or added at the cooking stage. Typically, you would crush juniper berries and peppercorns, make slits in the meat and rub the crushed juniper berries and peppercorns into the meat. Marinade the meat for a few hours in a mixture of vinegar, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice or orange juice, and herbs.
5 Ways To Use Juniper Berries
Use juniper berries in a meat marinade. Crush the juniper berries using a mortar and pestle, before adding red wine, herbs, crushed pepper and balsamic vinegar. This type of marinade works well for strong meats such as venison, pork and game.
Add juniper berries to a meat stew. Typically, the juniper berries are crushed and added at an early stage in the cooking so that they have time to release the flavours and absorb the moisture.
Juniper berries can be used to make a red wine sauce for meat. Crush first before adding red wine, onions, mushrooms, herbs and a little pepper. Add the juices of the cooked meat and reduce over the stove.
Use juniper berries in preserves such as sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). Typical German sauerkraut uses juniper berries together with spices such as mustard seeds, caraway seeds and cloves. The shredded cabbage is salted and fermented in water with juniper berries and the other spices for several weeks in a sterilised jar.
Juniper berries are a common ingredient in Polish sausages. Crush juniper berries and add, together with rosemary, pepper and mixed herbs to the sausage mix.