All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (2024)

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Learn all about juniper berries! Foraging juniper berries, juniper berry benefits, cooking with juniper berries, where to buy + 11 juniper berry recipes!

All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (1)

Living in Northern Arizona, where junipers are plentiful, I’ve built a strong relationship with these beautiful trees and figured it high-time I put a post together to share what I’ve learned and encourage others to build a relationship, too. Once you dive into the world of junipers and juniper berries, I believe you’ll find a bit of magic in return. Enjoy!

All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (2)

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What are Juniper Berries?

How-to Forage

Where to Buy

Flavor + Using Juniper Berries

Properties and Benefits

11 Juniper Berries Recipes

You Might Also Enjoy

What are Juniper Berries?

Juniper Berries are not actual berries, but rather, seed cones produced by a variety of juniper trees. Juniper trees are coniferous evergreens in the Cypress family. Most juniper species produce safe and edible juniper berries, such as Juniperus communis (Common Juniper), Juniperus deppeana Alligator Juniper, and Juniperus californica (California Juniper). Some species such as Juniperus sabina (Savin Juniper) produce highly toxic juniper berries and should not be consumed. Always do your research before consuming! The berries can be used both fresh and dried.

All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (3)

How-to Forage

Juniper berries ripen for 2-3 years. They are ready to pick when the tree has a large amount of ripe, mature berries that are blue in hue. If they are still green or bitter tasting, they are not quite ready. You will more commonly find trees ready for picking in the fall and winter. You can simply pluck the berries with your fingers to harvest or shake the tree (ripe berries fall from the tree more easily and are another great way to test that they are ready). Foraging juniper berries is a joy!

Where to Buy

Mountain Rose Herbs is a great source for dried juniper berries. You can find fresh juniper berries on Etsy.

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Flavor + Using Juniper Berries

Traditionally, juniper berries are most well-known as the flavoring agent in gin. It is also a common pickling spice. Cooking with juniper berries can be immense fun! They have a somewhat sweet, evergreen-like flavor that is complex and kind of hard to pin down completely. Put simply—they are wonderfully unique! They can be used in sauces, to flavor veggies, or even desserts.

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Properties and Benefits

Juniper berries have a broad range of culinary, spiritual, and medicinal uses and benefits. Some of these include:

  • Supporting the health of the urinary tract system and acting as a powerful diuretic.
  • Aromatherapeutic uses in the form of incense, essential oil, and smudge sticks. Many cultures consider juniper to be cleansing and purifying.
  • Being a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Having strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Being a great source of natural yeast, perfect for fermentation recipes.

11 Juniper Berries Recipes

Red Cabbage Soup – Where is My Spoon

Beautiful, creamy red cabbage soup, packed with nutritious ingredients, perfect for a weeknight dinner or for serving to guests.

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All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (6)

Four Thieves Vinegar

How to Make Four Thieves Vinegar – a tonic for home and health! Four Thieves Vinegar is an old-time concoction of vinegar, herbs and spices with a wealth of benefits and uses.

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How to Make Juniper Berry Tea – Schisandra and Bergamot

Dried juniper berries can be made into a delicious and healthy herbal tea. Learn how to make juniper berry tea here!

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All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (8)

Citrus Punch with Honey and Herbs – Nourished Kitchen

Sweetened with honey and infused with herbs, this citrus punch is full of flavor and has a deliciously vibrant note. It takes almost no time to make, and it’s packed with flavor.

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German Red Cabbage Recipe – Where is My Spoon

A traditional recipe for the German red cabbage, just the way my German mother-in-law makes it. That is: when she doesn’t take the shortcut and uses red cabbage from a jar…

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3-Step Homemade Juniper Berry Infused Gin – Hilda’s Kitchen Blog

Learn how to make homemade gin at home! Infused Gin, to be exact, using vodka, juniper berries, and other herbs, seeds, and botanicals!

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Juniper Berry Marinade, Rub, Syrup, Kapusta, Compote – Studio Botanica

Juniper Berry Recipes are a delicious + nutritious! Check out these recipes + add the goodness of Juniper berries to your day!

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How to Make a Wild Yeast Starter – Grow Forage Cook Ferment

Learn how to make a wild yeast starter for home brewing and natural sodas! From the book The New Wildcrafted Cuisine by Pascal Baudar.

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Gooseberry Jam with Juniper and Citrus – Family Friends Food

Flavoured with gin-inspired botanicals, this delicious gooseberry jam is simple to make and preserves summer fruit to enjoy all year.

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Juniper Champagne co*cktail Recipe – This Mama Cooks

Juniper Champagne co*cktail is a unique champagne co*cktail recipe featuring crushed juniper berries, a pine sprig, and simple syrup.

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Red Cabbage Slaw with Juniper Dressing – Family Friends Food

A crunchy red cabbage slaw with deliciously zingy spices. This gorgeous, vibrant, raw vegan salad will brighten any plate.

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All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (16)

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11 Juniper Berry Recipes: Four Thieves Vinegar & More!

Learn all about juniper berries! Foraging juniper berries, juniper berry benefits, cooking with juniper berries, where to buy + 11 juniper berry recipes!

5 from 1 vote

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Course: Drinks, Entrées, Side Dish

Cuisine: Herbal

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Additional Time: 14 days days

Total Time: 14 days days 5 minutes minutes

Servings: 32

Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large jar add garlic, thyme, bay, rosemary, peppercorns, juniper berries, lavender, and sage.

  • Pour apple cider vinegar into the jar.

  • Place a piece of cheesecloth or a paper muffin cup over the jar, then screw the lid on tightly (vinegar reacts with the metal in jar lids).

  • Give it all a good shake, then place in a dark, cool place to sit for 2 weeks.

  • When ready to use, you can strain the vinegar and keep stored in a clean jar, or leave the plant material suspended in the vinegar throughout use. Please refer to the post above for all tips, substitutions and uses!

  • Enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 152IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 7mg

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All About Juniper Berries + 11 Delicious Juniper Berry Recipes (2024)

FAQs

How many juniper berries can you eat a day? ›

When taken by mouth: Juniper, juniper berry, and juniper extract are LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts normally found in foods. But it is LIKELY UNSAFE to take more than 10 grams of juniper berries or more than 100 mg of juniper oil, or to take juniper for more than 4 weeks.

What foods do you use juniper berries for? ›

Juniper is commonly used with lamb (or mutton) and is particularly good with venison, wild boar, and even domestic pork. You could even add them to a pot of chili, to give a rustic flavor that complements ground smoked chile peppers. Juniper is also a good flavoring to use with roast duck.

What are the tastiest juniper berries? ›

The fruit of common juniper (Juniperus communis) is generally considered to be the most flavorful juniper berry, but J. virginiana (eastern red cedar) also produces tasty, edible berries.

What does juniper berries do to your body? ›

Juniper is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, intestinal gas (flatulence), heartburn, bloating, and loss of appetite, as well as gastrointestinal (GI) infections and intestinal worms. It is also used for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney and bladder stones.

Is it safe to eat raw juniper berries? ›

These strong berries are often dried and used sparingly for cooking and home remedies. The intense taste of the juniper berry means eating it raw is not advised, but it can be used for a variety of things in the kitchen. Ripe berries can be used in a marinade or applied to meat before cooking.

Who should not take juniper berries? ›

Warnings About Juniper Berries

‌In animal studies, researchers have found that taking juniper for too long or taking high doses has consequences. It can irritate your digestive system or your kidneys. Some researchers warn against taking juniper supplements if you have diabetes. It might make your symptoms worse.

What is the best way to eat juniper berries? ›

It can be used as a spice—a little goes a very long way. It's a great adjunct to meat dishes such as beef, pork, or wild game such as venison. Scandinavians, Northern Italians, and Germans use juniper berries in many dishes. The berries add delicious flavor to vegetable dishes and things like sauerkraut.

What is the main flavor used is juniper berry? ›

Juniper berry is probably best known as the unique flavouring agent of gin, an important component of the dry martini, a popular intoxicant and a putative calmative revered by western culture for over 300 years.

Are there any poisonous juniper berries? ›

Consuming large amounts of juniper berries may cause catharsis, convulsions, or harm kidney function. The berries of some species, such as J. sabina, are toxic.

What's the difference between juniper and juniper berries? ›

Juniper is from the leaves and the branches of the plant and Juniperberry is from The berry of the plant. Different constituents.

Should I crush juniper berries? ›

To get the best results, lightly crush juniper berries before adding to a dish to help release their flavour. Juniper is often used as a garnish for gin.

What part of juniper is edible? ›

Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) is found in central and eastern Oregon, and those berries are edible. I use crushed juniper berries in my turkey brine every Thanksgiving. Though I see no problem using the needles in a tea, I think they would be very woody and hard to eat, even in a smoothie!

How much juniper berries should I take? ›

Dosing. Generally, 2 to 10 g/day of the whole, crushed, or powdered fruit (corresponding to 20 to 100 mg of essential oil) has been used for dyspepsia. Essential oil: 0.02 to 0.1 mL 3 times daily. Fluid extract: 1:1 (g/mL); 2 to 3 mL 3 times daily.

Do juniper berries need to be dried? ›

You can use the berries fresh or dry them for long-term storage. Fresh or dried, the flavor is always strongest just after the berries have been crushed. Because of that, I leave them whole until right before use, crushing only the amount I need in a mortar and pestle.

Is juniper berry good for kidneys? ›

Juniper is a powerful diuretic – a herb that increases the flow of urine, helping to cleanse the system of excess fluids and stimulating the kidneys. This causes the body to flush out uric acid and excess crystals that can cause many problems including gout, arthritis and kidney stones.

How do you prepare juniper berries for consumption? ›

Right before using the berries, you can also grind and sprinkle them on meats as a seasoning, or make a juniper sugar. Nevertheless, juniper is commonly used with lamb (or mutton) and is particularly good with venison, wild boar, and even domestic pork.

Are juniper berries good for your stomach? ›

Stomach and Bladder

Use Juniper berries as a tea for urinary tract problems by increasing urine flow (diuretic). This helps clear the kidneys, bladder, gallbladder, and prostate; helps with heartburn and can be used to calm an upset stomach. Juniper activates the digestive system and stimulates digestive processes.

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