The juniper is a species of trees and bushes of the Cypress family. The botanical systematisation is a matter of debate and 50-67 species are considered to belong to the family. The juniper is common over the entire northern hemisphere from the Arctic to tropical Africa and the mountain ranges of Central America.
The “berries” are really fruit-like scales that merge to form 4-27mm long, berry-like structures which contain 1-12 hard seeds. The “berries” are sometimes reddish-brown or orange, but most commonly blue. These “berries” are aromatic and used in cooking as a spice. It can vary between 6-18 months for the seeds to mature after pollination.
Juniper berries are used in the production of gin, genever (Dutch gin) and Sahti beer. They were also used to flavour beer before hops became more commonly used.