An important ingredient in Iranian dishes, sometimes referred to by their Persian name ‘Zereshk’. The berries add a gorgeous colour and a explosion of tart flavour to dishes. They are commonly used with rice and couscous, with chicken and with yoghurt in a marinade.Just a little light soaking, frying or simmering is all that’s needed to plump them up and release their delicious flavour – like tangy, lemony currants.
What’s more, according to some health reports, these little jewels have been classed as a superfood due to their high content of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Medicinally, they have traditionally been used as a cleanser and a digestive aid.
A simple way of using barberries and one that is common in Persian cooking is to lightly saute the berries with a pinch of saffron and serve on top of basmati rice or couscous.
Mix barberries with orange blossom water (another Persian ingredient) and a few safftron strands to make an attractive salad dressing.
Soak the berries and use in Tabouleh, a favourite!
A handful of barberries makes a healthy addition to your breakfast and trail mixes or to snack on throughout the day.
To get the full benefits from your barberries, they can be rehydrated first; soak in cold water for 10minutes , drain and saute in some oil until they begin to swell.
Or you can simply crush the dry berries with coarse salt and use as rub on lamb, pork or chicken before grilling for a tangy edge of flavour.
Barberries are also excellent in jams and jellies.