If you ever had a Martini or Gin and Tonic then you’ve drank juniper berries. These small, round blue-colored berries are the flavoring ingredient in gin.
Juniper shrubs are part of the conifer family. Where I live it is also a popular landscape plant. So popular that for a while, I thought is must have been our state shrub.
Its berries are often crushed and used in marinades or rubs for beef, poultry and pork. Juniper berries have a distinctive taste and not a berry as we think of brambles like raspberries or even strawberries. They are actually tightly closed cones.
These little beads about the size of a pea have an evergreen taste like rosemary with just a bit of sweetness. If you ever had pine tea the taste is similar. If you haven’t you should. White pine trees have 5 needles per bundle to tell the difference. Steep the needles in boiling water, add honey and you have a delicious beverage. It might not be as good as the juniper’s gin drinks to some but that’s okay too!