The juniper berry is not, in fact, really a berry, but rather is a female seed cone from a juniper tree. Best known for flavoring gin, juniper berries are a perfect flavoring for game and other strong meats. Juniper berries have a fragrant and flowery bouquet, reminding you of the curiously pleasing aromas of gin and turpentine. Juniper's flavor is aromatic, bittersweet, and piney.
The berries were known to Greek, Roman and early Arab physicians as a medicinal fruit and are mentioned in the Bible. In the Renaissance, they were recommended against snake bite, and plague and pestilence.
Juniper berries bring a "freshening" quality to recipes, a sharp, clear flavor to Scandinavian, German-Austrian-Czech, and Northern Italian cuisines. Juniper makes game less game-y, so is a frequent contributor to wild bird and game recipes. It cuts the fatty effect of duck and pork as well.
Juniper berries blend well with other herbs and spices: thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, allspice and onions and garlic. Add juniper berries to wine marinades for meats, or use with coriander for smoking meats. For a delicious sauerbraten, add 3 tablespoons to the marinade. Lightly crush and then rub over meats before roasting or grilling. Juniper berries even go well in fruit dishes like apple tarts.