Not a true berry but an actual female cone, the juniper berry’s fleshy appearance gives it the name. All juniper berry species produce berries, but not all are edible. The Juniper Communis is the most common of the species and is used in European cuisine, typically to flavor wild game as well as a flavoring for gin, first created in the Netherlands in the 1600’s.
The juniper berry was first used as a medication as it was a diuretic, considered a remedy for arthritis as well as an appetite stimulant. It is an ancient berry having been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans used it as a cheap substitute for black peppercorns as they are similar in appearance. Source
Below are two recipes, a refreshing gin and tonic and a juniper peppercorn rub, perfect to rub a pork loin or a steak before cooking.
A Classic Gin and Tonic Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces gin, your favorite
2 lemon slice ice cubes
1 juniper berry ice cube
1 sprig lemon balm
Tonic to top
Pour the gin in a cocktail glass, add lemon slice ice cubes and juniper berry ice cubes. Top with tonic water and add a sprig of lemon balm. Makes one cocktail. Enjoy!!
Juniper Berry Peppercorn Spice Rub
1-1/2 tablespoons juniper berries
1-1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Place the salt in a small bowl. With a mortar and pestle, gently crush the juniper berries and peppercorns together. Add the minced garlic; tear the bay leaves into pieces and blend together. Use as a rub for pork or for beef.
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