Spice Rack: Juniper Berries

Every month we explore an obscure spice for your culinary benefit. This month we look at the du song.

Description: Depending on the species, juniper berries grow wild on prickly shrubs as well as on 40-foot trees in parts of Europe, North America, and Asia. The aroma is woody, piney, and a bit flowery. The flavor of the bluish-black berries is also pine-like, plus refreshing and savory, making it a superb complement for game meats or roasted duck.   

You Might Like to Know: If you own many polo shirts and like to pop their collars, toast the juniper berry upon ordering your next gin and tonic—the piney juniper is what gives gin its unique flavor.   

Non-Culinary Uses: Due to its refreshing, air-cleansing fragrance, French hospitals burned juniper twigs during a smallpox epidemic in 1870 to purify the air. Juniper-berry oil is also a common fragrance in men’s colognes and aftershaves.    

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