Juniper berry has four essential uses. These uses include; as a spice, as a beverage, as wood for smoking meat for preservation, and as an essential oil. But since we are looking at the juniper berry – which is not a real berry but in fact, a cone, we will constrict our argument on the alternatives in the beverage, essential oils, and a spice.
1. Bay leaves
Bay leaves can be used as a spice in place of juniper berries. The leaves are found to be naturally grown. However, you cannot use them in this state until they are dried. Raw leaves have a characteristic pungent smell, and they are very bitter. However, dried leaves smell of floral extracts.
Bay leaves are said to have flavors like oregano – a known herbal agent. Also, it is recommended as the closest substitute for juniper seeds as an essential oil.
Rosemary is a herbal spice that has been in the market for the longest time. It is used in medication as well as in spices. Its flavor is the closest alternative to juniper berries. It can be used in meaty dishes.
Additionally, juniper berries are used as essential oils. Rosemary can as well help in healing as the berries do. They are said to be strong antioxidant agents.
3. Black pepper
Black pepper has been used as a spice for thousands of years. The Romans used juniper berries as n alternative for black pepper due to its price back then. However, the berries became fewer, and black pepper had to take its place as a substitute instead. Therefore, the history of these two spices goes a long way. They can also alternate in amounts of use.
4. Lingonberry juice/tea
Lingonberry juice is not that common but is used in Scandinavian countries as a common drink. However, they are not close supplements; they can be used instead of juniper berries beverages.
Lingonberry can also be used to make tea flavors used as beverages. And just like juniper berries, they are used to heal body infections, especially in the urinary tract.
5. Apple cider/tea
Juniper berry juice can easily be alternated with cranberry juice, and you won’t notice. It is one of the closest substitutes. The name is cranberry-apple cider juice. It is a cider. However, it has a tart and sweet taste that reminds you of its mighty smell.
Cranberry tea and juice have different methods of making them. But they are used for similar purposes. By extension, juniper berries help heal infections related to the urinary tract.
Nutritional Facts Table
|Item||Calories (per serving)||Total Fats (g)||Carbohydrates (g)||Proteins (g)||Source||Works Best In|
|Bay leaves||~0||0||0||0||Bay leaf plant||Soups, stews, braised dishes|
|Rosemary||~0||0||0||0||Rosemary plant||Roasted meats, grilled vegetables|
|Black pepper||~0||0||0||0||Peppercorn plant||Seasoning for various dishes|
|Lingonberry juice/tea||~50-70||0-1||10-15||0-1||Lingonberries||Beverages, cocktails|
|Apple cider/tea||~120-150||0||30-40||0||Apples||Hot/cold beverages, mulled drinks|
What is the flavor of juniper berries?
Juniper berries have a strong, slightly piney, and resinous flavor. They are also a bit citrusy and can have a hint of bitterness.
What do juniper berries add to a dish?
Juniper berries add a unique earthy and woody flavor to dishes. They are commonly used to enhance the taste of meats, particularly game meats like venison, and can contribute to the overall aromatic profile of dishes.
Are juniper berries and allspice the same?
No, juniper berries and allspice are not the same. Juniper berries have a piney and resinous flavor, while allspice is a spice that tastes like a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Are juniper berries and capers the same thing?
No, juniper berries and capers are not the same. Juniper berries are small, dark berries with a piney flavor, often used in cooking meats and flavoring spirits like gin. Capers are pickled flower buds with a tangy, salty taste. They are often used as a condiment or garnish in various dishes.
The bottom line
The Juniper plant has many healing and domestic benefits, such as food preservation. However, when the focus is turned on the berries, the benefits of the berries are limited to beverages, spices, and essential oil.
Bay leaves and rosemary is both regarded as herbal extracts. But, in other forms, they can be used for flavoring food. On the other hand, cranberry-apple cider and lingonberry are suitable substitutes for juniper for making beverages and in this case, juices and teas.