Barberry (Persian: زرشک, [zereshk]) has a special place in Iranian food and is very popular. One of the Iranian dishes is Zereshk Polo ba Morgh (Barberry Rice with Saffron with chicken), which is very famous, and barberry is one of its main ingredients.
Iranians also use barberry to beautify and decorate their rice along with saffron. For having a sour and sweet taste, barberry is mixed and sautéd with sugar.
In Iran, barberry jam is made, which is very delicious and popular. Barberry juice has been one of the most well-liked sour juices since distance past. Lavashak (Persian fruit role) is also prepared from this attractive plant, eaten instead of fresh fruit in cold seasons.
One of the most expensive fruits in Iran is a type of barberry called seedless black barberry. This fruit is also known as Zereshk-e Kermanshah (Kermanshah Barberry). The people of Kermanshah city mostly use this type of barberry to cook a kind of local food called Khoresht-e Khalal (Almond Stew), which is appetizing.
Iran is the largest producer of barberry in the world, of which South Khorasan Province produces 95% of the world's barberry.
Moreover, barberry is used to treat a variety of diseases, from gastrointestinal disorders to liver diseases. It also contains a unique chemical called berberine that fights bacteria and viruses. Barberry is enriched in a variety of B vitamins that are essential for the general condition of our body.
A serving of barberry is abundant in antioxidants that reduce the risk of premature aging. Barberry extract has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and nerves. Studies show that barberry contains high levels of antioxidants and therefore helps prevent a variety of cancers.
Barberry has other uses besides food and medicine. In traditional fabric dyeing, it is used to dye wool, silk, and cotton fibers.