If you've ever had gin, you've tasted juniper berries—they give the liquor its floral, piney flavor, reminiscent of the evergreens that juniper is harvested from. Fun fact: They're not actually berries; they're the soft seed cones of the juniper tree. Combined with alcohol and other botanicals, they're distilled to make gin, but they're excellent when used sparingly in home cooking, too—you'll find the berries dried in the spice section of most grocery stores. Try using whole or crushed juniper to give slow-cooked stews and sauerkraut a floral note, or to add fragrance to a vinegary pickling brine. You can also drop a few juniper berries into poaching liquid when cooking salmon or other fish, or make a simple syrup infused with juniper for a berry, berry good gin-and-tonic.
Try junipers berries in Vinegar-Braised Lamb Shanks