Barberries are small and tart red berries, similar to a dried cranberry. The barberry fruit grows on the berberis tree which grown in similar areas to saffron - a frequent culinary pairing.

They are a common ingredient in Middle Eastern, Iranian, and Mediterranean cuisines, where they add a burst of flavour, colour, and a delightful tartness to various dishes, including Persian jewelled rice, zeresk polow. 

The tangy flavour of dried barberries perfectly balances the richness of the chicken or lamb that are traditionally served with the rice.

Beyond their use in rice dishes, barberries are featured in sweet baked goods, and chutneys. The berries are very high in pectin so are useful for setting jams and jellies.

Their unique flavour, somewhere between cranberries and currants, is a delightful addition to salads and grain dishes, providing a zesty, citrusy note and a fruity tang.