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Photos: Picking Zereshk (dried fruit of Berberis vulgaris) in Birjand, Iran


Photos by Amir Hosein Heidari, ISNA


برداشت زرشك در بيرجند



Zereshk is the Kurdish and Persian name for the dried fruit of Berberis vulgaris, which are widely cultivated in Iran. Iran is the largest producer of Zereshk and saffron in the world. Zereshk and saffron are produced on the same land and the harvest is at the same time. The South Khorasan province in Iran is the main area of Zereshk and saffron production in the world.


Zereshk is widely used in cooking, imparting a tart flavor to chicken dishes. It is usually cooked with rice, called Zereshk polo, and provides a nice meal with chicken.


Birjand is the provincial capital of South Khorasan province in eastern Iran. The city of Birjand had a population of 157848 people at the time of the last official census in 2006.
South Khorasan Province consists of 7 counties: Birjand, Ferdows, Qaen, Sarayan, Nehbandan, Darmian and Sarbisheh. South Khorasan is one the three provinces that were created after the division of Khorasan in 2004.



Iran, world's only seedless barberry producer

About 500 kinds of seeded barberries grow in various parts of the world, but the Islamic Republic is the only seedless barberry producer in the world, the head of agricultural research center in South Khorassan province said on Sunday, reported Mehr News Agency from Tehran.

Qolam-Reza Hadarbadi said about 14,000 hectares of land is used for growing barberry in South Khorassan Province.

Most of the seedless barberry is produced in South Khorassan Province, he added.

The main agricultural products of South Khorasan province are Zereshk, saffron, pistachio, and almond, Hadarbadi noted, adding that "seedless barberry is resistant to cold weather and grows well in mountain areas" with cold winters.

Best cultivated in areas over 1500 meters above sea level, seedless barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is the fruit of a shrub which is 3-6 meters high with reddish fragile branches that tend brown.

It has leathery leaves that are egg-shaped and little red fruits in the form of clusters hanging from the branches.

Barberries contain organic acids and phenol compounds that contain anthocyanin and carotenoide pigments as well as phenolase, polyphenolase and glycosidase enzymes.


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