Dried barberries, also known as zereshk, zirishk, or pipperages, are small dried round fruits used in Persian cooking, similar to a dried cranberry. The barberry fruit grows on the barberries tree which grows in similar areas to saffron – a frequent culinary pairing. Use the barberries to stuff quail, or stir them through rice for the dish zereshk polo. The berries are also very high in pectin so are often used in jams or jellies.
A fruit from incredible berry family
Dried Barberry types:
- Anari barberry or sun-dried barberry
- Puffy barberry or air-dried barberry
Barberry in Cuisine
Sprinkle them onto a dish of rice or couscous or strew over pot-roasted chicken, and they’ll bring a burst of gorgeous colour and an explosion of tart flavour. Just a little light soaking, frying or simmering for a few seconds is all that’s needed to plump them up and release their delicious flavour – like tangy, lemony currants.
Another great idea is to crush the still-dry berries with coarse salt into a rough powder, then rub them on to lamb, pork or chicken before grilling to create a tangy edge of flavour. And if you’ve any left come Christmas, they make a stunning addition to homemade mincemeat, along with orange zest and cinnamon. A sprinkling of barberries will lend a citrus-like flavour to muesli, salad or yoghurt.
Barberries are also good for preserves, sauces and jellies, and can also be
used in pies and baked goods. Barberries can be used in fruit/nut/seed
mixes. The dried fruit of the barberry plant is very tasty and tart and can be kept for a long time. A mixture of yogurt with smashed barberry is recommended.
Iranian cuisine with Barberry:
Tahchin, Zeresh Polow, Kuku Sabzi, Dolmeh
Dried barberry or Zereshk, with many proven health benefits, is a popular organic fruit from Persia with a growing demand that affects the price.
Each year tons of Zereshk, as locals call it, is harvested in Iran’s south Khorasan province. Its place in Iranian cuisine is an irreplaceable one and many health benefits and its rich nutritional facts is turning it into a popular fruit in many countries. It’s common to use barberry along with rice in many Iranian traditional meals. The benefits such as:
- blood pressure control
- antioxidant compounds
- high volumes of Vitamin C
- cleans the liver and the Gallbladder
- Treats digestive problems
- Antifungal and anti-inflammatory
- fights infection
- Helps in weight loss
Barberries preserve their colour and flavour better in cool conditions for long-term storage. The manufacturer suggests keeping the product refrigerated after receipt, particularly in busy kitchens and centrally heated homes.