6 Best Substitutes for Juniper Berries
Juniper berries appear in many traditional foods, especially in European cuisines. This spice, though, is not always available in most supermarkets. If you need some for a recipe but can’t find them in your local store, try one of the substitutes for juniper berries given below.
There are many options for you to choose from that can create a similar result to juniper. Learn about each flavor profile and its uses as you read this article.
Best Substitutes for Juniper Berries
Get some rosemary as it makes an effective substitute for juniper berries. It is a fragrant Mediterranean herb that smells a lot like juniper berries. It also has hints of pine and minty flavors.
The taste and scent of rosemary, similar to juniper, are intense enough to complement stronger-flavored meats like boar and venison. Both fresh and dried types of rosemary have a pungent smell.
For each teaspoon of crushed juniper berries called for in your recipe, you can use a medium-sized sprig of rosemary. Remember that rosemary becomes stronger as it cooks, so be careful which dishes you use it in.
No need to look far, gin is another ideal substitute for juniper berries in your recipe. Why? Simply because it is flavored with juniper berries. You can get a similar piney taste to what would get from juniper berries.
You can use any brand or alcohol content you have for this substitution. For every two juniper berries in your recipe, use one teaspoon of gin.
Keep in mind that you will also have to change the amount of liquid needed in your recipe to compensate.
3. Bay Leaf
Another suitable spice to replace juniper berries is a bay leaf. It is very aromatic, and even with only one leaf, it will work wonders in many recipes.
If you are going to use whole leaves, 1-2 bay leaves can replace a teaspoon of juniper berries. When you use ground bay leaves, apply a 1:1 ratio.
It does not matter if you use more than the given proportion because bay leaves have a subtle effect on your recipe.
You can consider cardamom, too, as a stand-in for the distinct flavor and fragrance of juniper berries. It is a unique spice commonly used in Indian cooking and other delicious European confections.
It is best used on savory dishes to enhance the fragrance and taste. The whole pods and seeds of cardamom are used in other forms of cooking.
The ratio of substitution is 1:1. Substitute one teaspoon of cardamom for one teaspoon of juniper berries.
Note, though, that this spice is a little pricier than the other options mentioned earlier. However, the ability to mimic the properties of juniper berries for your recipe makes the replacement worthwhile.
5. Hickory Spice
Check out this excellent alternative for juniper berries. Hickory spice is a combination of herbs and spices that contains onion, garlic, salt, cumin, chili, and hickory powder. It is no surprise that this seasoning is both tasty and highly fragrant.
For substitution, use 1.5 teaspoons of hickory spice for every teaspoon of juniper berries needed in your recipe.
You may adjust the amount depending on your preference. This spice is not very hot, so you can even add a little extra if you like the flavor.
6. Caraway Seeds
Last on our list, we have caraway seeds. Since caraway seeds have a licorice taste, they can replace the pine flavor of juniper berries. They fill the same role as juniper berries and rosemary in cutting through the fattiness and powerful taste of game meats.
Additionally, in sauerkraut and other cabbage recipes, caraway seeds are traditionally used instead of juniper berries.
When substituting, you can apply an equal proportion to your recipe. One teaspoon of caraway seeds is equivalent to one teaspoon of juniper berries.
What Are Juniper Berries
Juniper berries come from the juniper plant native to Europe. They are simply cones rather than real berries.
This berry is a valued spice in European cuisine but is seldom used in American dishes. When it hits maturity, the flavor becomes distinctly herb-like and citrusy.
Juniper berries are dark purple-blue and bring a sharp, slightly bitter taste to food. They are available in dried form.
Juniper berries are most often used to flavor gin. Aside from enhancing a wide range of other beverages, you can also use them for baking and cooking.
The Bottom Line
You can use many herbs and spices instead of juniper berries. It is safest to select a replacement based on the type of dish you are preparing. Explore the items on the list above and add them to your recipes. Have a fun time in the kitchen!
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