One of the questions about barberry, is what is Barberry ?! Most people around the world have not even heard of barberry. In this entry we start with an introduction about the barberry shrub and barberry fruit.
The barberry bush is a thorny shrub growing up to twelve feet high with branched, spiny, holly-like leaves and native to
- central and southern Europe
- northwest Africa
- central Asia
Barberry yellow blossoms ( or orange blossoms) bloom from mid spring (May-June). These beautiful blossoms turn into red to blue-black berries. The fruit is edible. They sweet-sour. Barberry fruit is very rich of vitamin C and antioxidants. It is about 7 to 10 mm long and 3–5 millimetres broad, and has a sharp taste. The fruit has an oblong shape, which grow in clusters. They are good for concentrate, preserves, sauces and jellies, jams, juices, etc.
Barberry or as it is called in Persian, Zereshk can be used in both fresh fruit and dried ones. However, the fresh barberry mostly is used in making products such as Barberry jam and barberry concentrate.
The dried fruit of the barberry plant is very tasty and tart and can be kept for more than a year. Dried barberry has been popular in many cuisines and can also be used in pies and baked goods. Another good use of dried barberry is in fruit/nut/seed mixes.
The barberry species which is cultivated in Iran is called Berberis vulgaris L. var. asperma. Southern khorasan in Iran is the hometown of Berberis vulgaris. Almost all of the barberry produced is harvested from this region (95 percent). In Persian food culture, dried barberry is mostly consumed as a food additive. At the commercial level, dried barberry is divided into two products:
- Anari barberry or sun dried barberry
- Puffy barberry or air dried Barberry
Puffy barberry has a better quality than Anari barberry and its price is also higher.