Juniperus communis L.

The juniper shrub goes by many names. It grows as a bush or tree that can reach a height of 12 metres. Juniper has spiny, evergreen needles in bluish green. The flower develops a fleshy, initially green cone, which is the juniper berry. The round berries take two years to mature, at which time they turn bluish black and develop a skin similar to that of a grape.

Countries of origin

Europe, Asia, North America, North Africa
Juniper is native to the northern hemisphere. A member of the coniferous cypress family, it is popular in gardens and parks as an ornamental shrub, although it usually grows wild. It is primarily found in coniferous forests and in sparse heathlands and mountainous areas with dry, sandy soils. The principal source of juniper for the spice industry today is former Yugoslavia, and to a lesser degree Italy.

Flavour and aroma

All parts of the juniper bush have a strong fragrance. Juniper berries have a pinelike aroma and bittersweet flavour. In marinades for sauerbraten, sauerkraut, fish, game and gherkins Used whole or crushed, the berries are perfect for game and wild poultry, in everything from marinades to jugged hare. Even pork, mutton, sauerbraten, dark and hearty meat ragouts, thick casseroles, fish marinades, sauerkraut and red beets benefit from the pungent aroma. Juniper berry goes well with plain, hearty fare, and can also mellow the strong smell and taste of cabbage dishes. The liquor industry depends on juniper for many of its products: gin, Genever, Steinhäger and other juniper spirits and cordials are distilled with it.

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