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The juniper berry is an important part of European and Indigenous American cuisine with the piney citrus notes can add a wonderful depth of flavor to any dish. I love the flavor profile of the juniper berry - our herb blend, Somethin' To Cluck About, uses the juniper berry as an accent flavor, nestling the pungent, piney notes of this seed among other outspoken herbs and spices.
The juniper berry is not actually a berry, rather, its a small seed cone that remains fleshy and edible. The berry is considered mature after approximately 18 months, when it turns from green to a purple-black color..
The taste of the juniper berry is fresh with a fruity citrus flavor and an aromatic , piney spiciness. The berry is in no way sweet, instead it has a pungent, piney taste that can mimic sweetness. The juniper berry pairs well with other strong flavors such as caraway, garlic, rosemary and black pepper. Favored by northern European cultures, particularly in Scandinavian cuisine, the juniper berry is used to flavor meat dishes and heartier vegetables such as cabbage. Its also used to flavor gin.
Juniper berries were once as sought after as salt and were found in the tomb of King Tut.