Juniper berries in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Juniper berries are a spice which is widely used in European cuisines to impart a clean, sharp flavour to meats (especially wild game and wild birds) and is one of the main flavourings of gin.
The berries are technically part of the cone of the juniper plant rather than a fruit. The berries must be crushed to impart their full flavour and are best used fresh as they lose their intensity over time. They can be bought dried or, occasionally, fresh.
The best juniper berries are grown in Tuscany and Umbria but the majority are bought by gin distilleries as the main botanical for flavouring the drink.
Gin takes its name from the Dutch spelling of juniper, jenever, or possibly from the French spelling, genievre.