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Juniper Berries and Star Anise

I recently bought a bottle each of Juniper Berries and Star Anise for a recipe that only called for a small amount.

Now I'm left with mostly full bottles of spices I rarely use.

So, I have two questions. How long do these spices keep if stored in glass bottles in my pantry and does anyone have any good recipes or suggestions for using these spices.


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  1. not a recipe but a serving suggestion -- at a restaurant recently i had a starter of pate slices that arrived liberally sprinkled with juniper berries. i was a little dubious at first but actually the combo was really wonderful.

    1. I'm glad you asked since I just bought some star anise that I only used a small portion. So far the only thing I did was throw some in poached pears.

      I love the smell of this. Upcoming plans include putting it in tomato soup, tea, and coffee. This site with some recipes says it will last up to a year in a glass container.

      Never bought juniper berrie, so can't help there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        Tried the star anise in the coffee. I put one, uh, star in the brew basket. You need sweetner in the coffee though, since the star anise is bitter on its own. I added a little sweetened condensed milk and I was enjoying my own cheap and non-chemical version of International Delights coffee.

      2. This is an ancient family recipe for Juniper pot roast. It is really good and anyone who has tried it has been amazed at how easy it is to make. People ask me to make it when I invite them to dinner. The problem with it is that it goes against cooking sense. You put raw onions in the casserole with fo grease and you bake them until they are nearly completely black. I recently published it in the newsletter I write, The Curmudgeon's Home Companion (www.curmudgeon.com


        Juniper Pot Roast

        3-4 pound beef chuck roast
        2-3 large onions, thinly sliced
        20 juniper berries
        salt and pepper

        1. Place a heavy, covered ovenproof casserole in a 425 degree oven. When the casserole is hot, evenly spread the onion slices over the bottom and brown them in the oven, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes or on the cooktop. Watch carefully, and let them burn slightly (or even a little more than slightly) it will improve the flavor. You want to see black on the bottom of the casserole.
        3. Meanwhile salt and pepper the meat and then brown it well on all sides in a frying pan to which you have added a very small amount of olive oil unless the meat is fatty.
        4. When the onions are ready take half of them out of the casserole, put the meat in and then put the remaining onions on top of the meat. Crush the juniper berries and sprinkle them on the pot roast. Its ok if some fall off. Add a splash of white wine, Cover with parchment and then the lid and turn heat down to 350 degrees.
        5. Roast for 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours checking occasionally to see that it has not dries out. If it is dry add p white wine..
        6. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 10 or 15 minutes, and serve with buttered egg noodles. The small amount of jus is very intense and you can add water to it to streach it. If you want a real decadent treat, cook some poppy seed in the butter and then mix with the cooked egg noodles. (You could also serve this with potatoes.)

        1. I'd put half the bottle of star anise into a jar of sugar,
          then you'll have anise-scented sugar for cookies or tea
          (if you'd like that sort of thing . . .)

          I like to do a wet brine of pork with dry chiles, bay leaf and star anise.

          Spices don't last forever, that's for sure. They just slowly lose their kick -- but at least what you have are whole, so you got a few months or more. My favorite thing to see on cooking shows is the host advising to empty the cupboard of 10 year old sticky bottles!

          1. I have both in my pantry and because they are whole (not ground), I am confident they will last a long time. Sure, some of their fresh potency will deteriorate, but they are perfectly usable.

            Star anise is particularly great w/ beef. I put a few into my pho broth. I also think it would be nice to toss one into a potroast or other braised beef dish like short ribs to impart a subtle, mysterious flavor.

            Juniper berries also work well in broth, particularly for chicken or duck. A few will neutralize any gamey quality or strong odors. I've seen brine recipes include juniper berries, and I'd think it would work well w/ turkey. BTW, highly recommend the berries from Penzeys!

            Have fun using your stash. Mind sharing what recipe prompted you to buy them in the first place?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Carb Lover

              The recipe was Spiced Lamb Shanks with Blood Orange Relish which I took from Food Network. It sounded interesting and it turned out fairly well. If I were to make it again I would probably cook the lamb longer and slower. The flavors were good though. Here's the link:


              1. re: empecot

                The fusion braised lamb shanks recipe I use came from a now-defunct restaurant in Vancouver:
                OJ, orange peel/zest, white wine, whole star anise, whole allspice, cinnamon stick, garlic, & fresh ginger

            2. when they are getting old enough to make you start thinking about tossing them, put them in a big pot of water and turn the heat on low. In a few hours your house will smell great.

              1. I love star anise in desserts. Anise and chocolate is a favorite combination (along with cardamom and chocolate).

                1. I'll put a juniper berry or two in when cooking a boiled dinner, ham stock, pea or lentil soup

                  1. Star Anise is a beautiful and delicious spice. I make a potpourri from sweet spices, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, orange and apple peel. Put a few tablespoonsfull in a very heavy pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Keep on a very low flame on the stove. It will perfume your kitchen and the rest of your home as well.

                    1. In the future, try finding a food coop or health food store where you can measure out just what you need from their bulk herbs and spices. Even if you use a lot of a particular herb or spice, it's cheaper to buy this way. The store provides little plastic bags and your purchases are weighed at the counter.

                      1. A couple of juniper berries are good in sauerkraut or pork rilletes. Add a few to a fresh tomato sauce for pork chops. Just remember, a little goes a long way.

                        1. Where did you find Juniper????????

                          I've been looking like crazy and no one has it.

                          It's going to be so easy that I'm going to feel like an ass.

                          I know it.

                          All I want is juniper.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: therealbigtasty

                            Penzey's has them. I picked a small jar up at my local Penzey's, and was wondering how to use them as well. Curmudgeon's pot roast sounds good - but I was concerned since it calls for 20 juniper berries - I thought they were a "little goes a long way" like steamer says?


                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              I'm not sure where Carb Lover is coming from with regard to reducing the gamey taste. Juniper is traditionally (in addition to flavoring gin) to make meat that isn't, taste more gamey.

                              A little goes a long way and when I said 20 juniper berries for my pot roast I was thinking the dried out berries I get in a supermarket. My guess is Penzey's are fresher and, softer and more moist so use only a dozen and add more the next time since you'll love the flavor. In earlier times when they were more commonly available I only used 12.

                              A couple of years ago I bought a jar of juniper berries in Italy and there were so fresh and moist that they got powdery mildew on them after a year. (I rinsed them, rubbed them between towelling and used them anyway.)

                              1. re: Curmudgeon

                                I think these are also dried out berries as well (from Penzey's). And Penzey's site says the same as CarbLover - they reduce the gaminess of wild meats.

                                "The once humble juniper berry is enjoying a renaissance of its ancient popularity as a seasoning for game, as the country's top restaurants list venison, squab, pheasant and rabbit on their menus. A few juniper berries will reduce the wild flavor of these meats and will add the pleasant tartness long associated with Germanic dishes, such as sauerbraten,..."

                                So I guess I'll start out small and add more if I want them - easier to add than take away. :-)

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Hehe, now that I think about it, I did pick up that fact from reading Penzeys label! This should make the Penzeys' marketing people happy...

                            2. re: therealbigtasty

                              I bought mine at Whole Foods in Union Square.

                              Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

                              1. Mozzarella marinated in really good EVOO, juniper berries. and bay leaves.

                                1. Juniper is a natural with pork. Whole spices should keep for two years, according to Penzey's catalog (and they have an interest in your replenishing sooner!).

                                  They also say that you need not replace your ground spices sooner than a year, since generally spices are harvested only once a year -- that is, unless you do something unwise like store near the stove or heat source.

                                  1. It's getting to be time for winter casseroles, in which Juniper berries and star anise work wonderfully.

                                    Choucroute, or any dish with cooked sauerkraut, benefits from juniper berries. Any braise, particularly with pork, benefits from star anise. For example, http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1...

                                    1. I put star anise in chicken soups - adds a nice flavour.

                                      1. I like to use juniper berries (dried, toasted and lightly crushed) as part of my cure for gravlax. I added them to a red wine reduction sauce for a roast duck last x-mas...yum. I second the pork suggestions...haven't done it for a while, but a white wine and juniper marinade for roast pork was great.

                                        1. You just named two of my aces on the hole- I use both to add a little "je ne sais quoi" to my brown sauces for pork, duck , and game.

                                          I love the suggestion of storing the extra star anise in sugar! I can't believe I never even dreamt of that!

                                          My suggestion- drink alot of mulled cider/wine this winter- buy a few cloves and cinnamon sticks, then use up the star anise and juniper small handfulls at a time with the warm yummy potable.

                                          And, like Fleur said- it will make your kitchen and home smell great!