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Alternatives to Juniper Berries

Updated February 21, 2017

Juniper berries are sometimes used in cooking, most often to flavour sauerkraut and when cooking game meats such as venison. However, juniper berries are not commonly found in the house, sometimes forcing you to choose an alternative to mimic their flavour.

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Gin

Gin is an alcohol made from juniper berries. It can also be used as a cooking substitute if juniper berries aren't available. According to Cook's Thesaurus, use one teaspoon of gin for every two berries the recipe calls for.

Types

Other spices can also step in for the flavour of juniper berries. Both crushed bay leaves or smashed caraway seeds can be used, even though the flavour is slightly different. You can use equal parts of both to stand in for juniper berries.

Considerations

Gin works best when used as a substitute in a sauce for game. However, if none of these alternatives are available, you can use another flavour like onion or garlic to stand in for the juniper berries.

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About the Author

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

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