Juniper berries are the ripe, dried cones from the Juniper evergreen shrub which grows throughout the northern hemisphere. The berries are about a quarter inch wide and bluish-purple. Their flavor is intensely spicy with a slight touch of pine. Although best known as the flavoring for gin and other liqueurs, juniper berries have many culinary uses.
These berries are often used when cooking game meat, as the berries help reduce the gaminess as well as add a nice tartness. They can be used in marinades and sauces or rubbed over meat before grilling or roasting. Crushing the berries before use will release their essential oils and enhance the flavor they impart.