Dried barberries or zereshk are small dried round fruits used in Persian and Iranian cooking, similar to a dried cranberry. The barberry fruit grows on the berberis tree which grown in similar areas to saffron – a frequent culinary pairing. Use the barberries to stuff quail, or stir them through rice for the dish zeresk polow. The berries are also very high in pectin so are often used in jams or jellies.
Soak barberries in cold water for 10 minutes before use. Drain, and sauté in a little oil until they swell. Then chop together with nuts, and onions to stuff chicken or quail; or stir through rice along pistachios, raisins, cardamon, saffron and other spices for the colourful “Persian jewelled rice”, zereshk polow.