The juniper tree, Juniperus communis, is an evergreen shrub (a tree that stays green all year) and grows in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia.
It produces seed cones known as juniper berries, which can vary in color but most of them are blue. They have a tart, pine-like flavor and they’re often used as a spice or coloring agent. Most juniper berries are edible but some of them may be poisonous.
They have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times, and there’s even current evidence suggesting they offer various health benefits.
Juniper berries can be typically found in the spice aisle. In fact, if you look at how juniper berries are categorized in websites like Walmart, they come up as “condiments, sauces, and spices”. That being said, you may also be able to find them in the dry goods section. Some of the most common juniper berries brands include Brewer’s Best and Morton & Bassett.
In this article, I’ll show you where to find juniper berries (both online and offline), and I’ll tell you how you can prepare them to use in savory dishes. Additionally, I’ve also included a plant-based recipe that makes use of juniper berries.
What Stores Have Juniper Berries Available?
Here are the stores that most likely carry juniper berries:
- Amazon (US) – As I usually like to say, Amazon is hands down the best place to buy anything online, including juniper berries. They carry whole juniper berries, which you’re able to find in bulk or a small jar.
- Walmart (US) – With Walmart, it’s the same thing, but you can also opt for going in-store. You will most likely find them in the spices aisle, but they can also be in the dried goods aisle.
- Whole Foods (US) – At Whole Foods, you can also find juniper berries in a small sachet or jar.
- Kroger (US) – Kroger is yet another place where you can purchase juniper berries, both online and offline.
- Tesco (UK) – Fortunately, for those in the UK, it’s also possible to find juniper berries in nearby grocery stores like Tesco. Just head to the spices section and you’ll find them.
- Sainsbury’s (UK) – In Sainsbury’s spice section you’ll also be able to find juniper berries.
- ASDA (UK) – Needless to say, ASDA is another supermarket where you will easily find juniper berries.
- Health Foods Store – Stores like Lifesource Natural Foods (US) and Holland & Barrett (UK) will also carry juniper berries, though they’re likely to have the whole, organic variety.
How to Find Juniper Berries in Grocery Stores
As I’ve briefly mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, you can find juniper berries in the spice aisle, since they are mostly used as condiments.
With that being said, whole juniper berries are also something that people may seek and those are available in the dry goods aisle, typically stored in plastic bags or sachets.
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How to Use Juniper Berries
Juniper berries are unique in the sense they’re used to add aroma and flavor to savory dishes – opposed to most berries which are generally used for desserts.
To add juniper berries to a dish, you can start by crushing the berries and adding them to a sauce or marinade. If you don’t want that strong of a flavor, you can start by toasting the berries, but you have to be particularly careful not to burn them (which can easily happen if you get distracted for a minute).
By the way, to crush the berries without making a mess, you can put them inside a zippered bag and smash them using a wine bottle, hammer, or anything else you may have at hand. Once you’ve flattened them, you can dump them on top of the cutting board and chop them nicely before adding them to your dish or sauce.
Juniper berries are usually cooked with meat, but I’ve actually found an interesting recipe if you’re interested in eating a plant-based dish.
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Seitan Steak with a Juniper in a Red Wine Reduction
If you’re looking for a plant-based recipe that uses juniper berries, this is one. It’s a good entreé for when you have a small crowd over at home. This recipe consists basically of seitan cooked in a red wine reduction flavored with vegetables and juniper berries that are also served with browned Italian onions.
The application of juniper berries in plant-based dishes is not common, so the number of recipes available online is quite limited.
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