Raugeriskis, or Berberis vulgaris, was completely eradicated from French farms in the 19th century. This was due to a disease of wheat black rust fungus, the spread of which was accelerated by barberry trees growing near the crop. Barberry trees survived only in mountainous regions, where its green and red berries, leaves and bark were used.
Nowadays, barberry is abundant in Iran, in the Chorasan region, where it grows in the foothills. This place is also well known for its extremely high quality saffron. In Persian, barberry is called “zereshk” and is traditionally dried and then used with eggs, fish, rice or poultry dishes. One of them, the traditional Persian rice pilaf “zereshk polow”, is a rice and chicken dish that uses a lot of dried barberry.
Barberry berries are well known for their healing properties – the Egyptians used them to treat fever. These berries also promote digestion and are good for the liver and heart.
Barberry berries have a sweet and sour taste and are perfect for sweet dishes such as crumb cakes, chocolate desserts or jams and are also indispensable with game and poultry dishes, fish or exclusive rice washes. Want a real Persian flavor? Mix the barberry with saffron!
Before using the barberry berries, wash and lightly fry in butter. We recommend storing barberry berries in the freezer.
Store in a dry and cool place.