A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which gives it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice, particularly in European cuisine, and also give gin its distinctive flavour. Juniper berries are among the only spices derived from conifers, along with spruce buds.
Juniper, typically Juniperus communis, is used to flavor gin, a liquor developed in the 17th century in the Netherlands. The name gin itself is derived from either the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever, both of which mean "juniper". The flavor of juniper berries is most commonly associated with pine. It is sharp with a hint of bitterness and can be described as resinous with mild citrus notes.
- Botanical Name: Juniperus communis
- Region: Saskatchewan, Canada
- Altitude: 350 - 400 m