Think Juniper Recipes!
Juniper berries are the key flavoring in gin, which was originally known as jenever ("juniper") and was developed in the Netherlands. Juniper berries were used in cooking and for medicinal purposes in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome, and have been found in India and other Asian cultures as well.
Juniper has a wonderfully piney taste with citrus overtones (sometimes compared to rosemary) and is a common ingredient in German food. A well-known Alsatian dish, choucroute garnie, contains sauerkraut with sausage and potatoes, seasoned with pepper and juniper berries.
Other Uses of the Juniper Berry
The juniper berry, in addition to being a popular spice, has long been used in many cultures for its medicinal properties. It's an effective diuretic and is believed to help soothe symptoms of arthritis. Juniper berries have been used both as an appetite stimulant and an appetite suppressant, depending on the culture.
Some Native American tribes have even used juniper berries as a contraceptive. But juniper berries are not recommended for pregnant women since it's believed they may cause uterine contractions.