The juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers that are herbal trees. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. Not all species of juniper berries are edible, in fact some are toxic and consumption is inadvisable.
The mature, dark berries are usually but not exclusively used in cuisine, while gin is flavoured with fully grown but immature green berries.
The crushed berries of the juniper tree have an aromatic, resinous flavor oftern featured in pâtés, marinades and stuffings for pork, venison and other wild game. They are also a popular flavoring for sauerkraut, sauces, ham and cabbage. They are also used with root vegetables, legumes and bean dishes.
Juniper berries should not be taken during pregnancy or by people with kidney problems.