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Barberries, dried (organic?, raw?)

Dried barberries (organic?, raw?) have a sweet and sour aroma and are popular in oriental cuisine. They contain berberine.
The information we compiled for this ingredient is almost complete and includes many specific details.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 92.89%
Macronutrient proteins 6.16%
Macronutrient fats 0.96%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Dried barberries ( Berberis vulgaris ) taste sweet and sour. At best, the dried berries are organic, but are usually no longer raw in the sense of raw food quality.

Use in the kitchen

The dried barberry berries have a sweet-sour to tart taste. The shape is similar to that of raisins , but the berries are red and not brown, so they look similar to dried cranberries or dried goji berries .

Like other dried fruits, dried barberries taste great as a topping on muesli (e.g. pea muesli ), a smoothie bowl, on vegan yoghurt or in porridge . The berries also taste delicious in cakes or muffins. You can also use fresh barberries for this.

Dried barberries can also be incorporated into vegan chocolate pralines, energy balls or homemade muesli bars.

In oriental cuisine, dried barberries are used in a similar way to raisins to season rice (barberry rice), couscous or quinoa . In addition to barberries, spiced rice often also contains saffron , almonds , sometimes cardamom , cumin and cinnamon .

Salad can be enhanced with both fresh and dried barberries. A stew of lentils , sweet potatoes , onions and garlic refined with coriander leaves and caramelized dried barberries makes a varied dish.

Making your own dried barberries

Dried barberries are easy to make from fresh berries. Harvest season in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is between August and September . 1 Low-acid, seedless barberry varieties are better for eating than those with seeds. The freshly harvested berries should be washed well and patted dry before use.

For dried barberries in raw food quality, it is best to use a dehydrator and do not set the temperature above 40 °C. With a dehydrator, you can set the temperature precisely and the different models often have their own instructions (length and temperature) for each fruit. Dehydrators are also very energy efficient, as fruit needs many hours to dry.

Alternatively, you can use the oven with the convection function. To do this, place the barberries on a baking tray lined with baking paper. It is more energy efficient to put several trays in the oven at once. When drying in the oven, it is necessary to leave a small gap open so that the moisture can escape. You will often find instructions with drying temperatures of 70 °C. If you want to dry as gently as possible, we recommend temperatures of 40-50 °C. If you cannot regulate the oven temperature precisely below 50 °C, it is advisable to set the oven to the lowest setting (usually starts before 50 °C, but without a display). Heat also escapes through the open gap and you can assume that the temperature will reduce somewhat as a result.

Vegan recipe for saffron spiced rice with barberry

Ingredients (for 4 people): 300 g basmati rice , 600 ml water , 1 pinch of saffron , ½ tsp cardamom , ½ tsp cumin seeds , 1 pinch of ground cinnamon , 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, 1-3 tbsp water , 30 g dried barberries, 20 g almond slivers , 20 g shelled pistachios .

Preparation: Place the rice in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water several times until the water runs clear. Then cook in water until almost al dente. Drain in a sieve, rinse briefly under cold water and allow to drain.

Crush the cardamom and cumin in a mortar. Put them in a non-stick frying pan with the saffron, cinnamon, rapeseed oil and water and heat slowly. Put the cooked rice in the frying pan and cook covered for 15-20 minutes over a low heat until a golden crust forms. Turn the barberry rice out onto a plate and garnish with barberries, almond slivers and pistachios.

Vegan recipes with dried barberries can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

You cannot buy dried barberries at major retailers such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer and Billa . You can occasionally find them in organic supermarkets such as Denn's Biomarkt and Alnatura , health food stores or specialty shops such as Coop-Vitality . Dried barberries are available in spice shops and in shops selling Turkish, Arabic or Iranian specialties. They are also available online.

The term "raw food" is not protected by law - unlike organically certified products. You have to be careful when using the term "raw" or sun-dried, as retailers do not always take temperature restrictions (e.g. 42 or 45 °C for "real" raw food) seriously. Conscious consumers should prefer non-sulphurized dried barberries (unsweetened). Treatment with sulphur increases the shelf life and ensures that the colour of the dried fruit is retained (good appearance). Sulphurization is not necessary, however, as non-sulphurized dried fruit will also last for several months if stored correctly. We recommend eating products that are as close to natural and untreated as possible. Prefer organic quality, as these barberry bushes are not treated with pesticides or fungicides and the berries have no residues.

The availability of dried barberries varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. If you are interested, click on our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries (above under the ingredient image). There you will find current prices from various supermarkets and their price development.

Storage tips

Dried fruit such as dried barberries can be stored in airtight containers for about a year if kept dry, cool and protected from light. 15

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

Dried barberries (organic) have an energy content of 269 kcal per 100 g. They contain 68 g of carbohydrates, 49 g of which are sugar. The fruits are relatively rich in fiber, with 14 g/100g. This corresponds to 56% of the daily requirement. They are almost fat-free and contain only a small amount of protein (4.5 g/100g). 16

Dried berries of the bark of the thorn contain potassium : 100 g of berries contain 264 mg, which corresponds to 13% of the daily requirement. However, this is little compared to other dried fruits. In comparison , dried goji berries have 1104 mg/100g, dried sour cherries 798 mg/100g, dried plums 732 mg/100g and dried figs have 680 mg of potassium per 100 g. 16,17

Manganese is contained in 100 g of dried barberries at 0.2 mg, which is similar to dried cranberries (0.18 mg/100g), dried apricots have slightly more at 0.24 mg/100g.Dried bananas contain four times as much of this trace element at 0.83 mg/100g. 16,17

The vitamin E content in dried barberries is 1.2 mg/100g, the same amount as preserved tomatoes . Kernels, seeds and oils contain much more of this vitamin, with sunflower seeds containing 41 mg/100g. But dried mangos also have a considerable amount of 4.4 mg/100g. 16,17

Barberry berries also contain traces of copper , iodine and magnesium . Vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine) is also worth mentioning. 16

The complete ingredients of dried barberries, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Effects on health

Is barberry healthy? In addition to vitamins, minerals and trace elements, barberries also contain valuable secondary plant substances such as tannins, anthocyanins and phenolic compounds (including catechin, chlorogenic acid and gallic acid). Barberries are sometimes referred to as a "superfood". However, compared to other fruits and berries, they are not exceptional; in fact, they sometimes perform worse in terms of nutritional value.

Catechin has an antioxidant effect and is an active ingredient that inhibits lipoprotein oxidation. In addition, antimycotic activity against Candida albicans has been demonstrated in vitro . Chlorogenic acid and gallic acid also act as antioxidants and reduce free radicals, which reduces oxidative stress. Both secondary plant substances have anti-cancer effects. Gallic acid is also antimicrobial, antimycotic and anti-inflammatory. Due to these phenolic compounds, ethanol and water extracts of barberry berries have an antioxidant effect. 3

Barberry contains several alkaloids, with berberine being the predominant one. However, the berberine content in the berries is not excessive at 5.2-7.7%. 9 In addition to barberry (barberry), turmeric ( Curcuma longa ), Chinese goldenseal ( Coptis sp. ), goldenseal ( Hydrastis canadensis ) and Oregon grape ( Mahonia aquifolium ) also contain large amounts of berberine. 11 Berberine is a bioactive substance with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial effects. 3,4

Berberine has a hypolipidemic effect (against elevated blood lipid levels). 4 Studies on rats show that administration of barberry extracts can significantly reduce serum cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels. 12 Berberine also supports the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis, which is why it is being investigated as a potential therapeutic drug for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases associated with cholesterol overload. 6 Barberry extracts administered intravenously lower blood pressure and slow the heartbeat. This effect was demonstrated in rats with high blood pressure and with normal (normotensive) blood pressure. A vasodilatory effect was also observed. 7,8 Berberine has also been shown to have a hypoglycemic effect (blood sugar regulation). 4 Berberine also lowers fasting blood sugar and HBA1C ("long-term blood sugar") in adult patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. 9

Berberine counteracts acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Studies on cells and animal models show that berberine reduces inflammation and minimizes damage to the cells of the pancreas. It also appears to help restore normal function, which is important because pancreatitis is a risk factor for the development of pancreatic cancer. 11 Berberine represents a potential drug for the treatment of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and for the prevention of pancreatic cancer.

Due to its poor solubility and low bioavailability when taken orally (consumption of plant components or extracts), the clinical use of berberine is limited. 10 Clinical studies are required to confirm the results from the numerous animal studies and to be able to use berberine as a therapeutic drug for the treatment of high blood pressure, elevated blood lipid levels, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and pancreatitis. 10

Does berberine help you lose weight? Berberine (as mentioned above) has an influence on glucose and fat levels in the blood. Obesity is always associated with high lipid levels, so modulating lipid metabolism is important for weight control. Berberine lowers blood sugar levels and inhibits certain enzymes (α-glycosidase), which means that the body can only absorb a limited amount of glucose. 13 This is why berberine is "advertised" as a "weight loss agent" and sold as a dietary supplement. However, you can only lose weight healthily and permanently with a targeted change in diet.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

With the exception of the ripe berries, the whole plant is slightly poisonous. Both the leaves and the roots contain large amounts of alkaloids (including berberine, oxyberberine, berbamine and iatorrhizin). 1 After ingesting large amounts, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, nosebleeds, kidney irritation, shortness of breath and seizures can occur. 5

Nevertheless, all parts of the barberry are used in natural medicine - in small quantities. 1 Adults usually tolerate berberine doses of up to 500 mg well. 5

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety ( ANSES ) advises against children and pregnant and breastfeeding women consuming food supplements containing berberine. 14

Taking berberine can also cause unwanted side effects with medications. 14

Folk medicine - naturopathy

The fruits, leaves and roots of the barberry are used in naturopathy. Traditional applications are for fever, cough, liver diseases, depression, hyperlipidemia (disorder of fat metabolism), hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar) and bleeding. 4 It is also said to help against liver congestion (blood congestion in the liver), to stimulate bile production, for loss of appetite and for constipation. 1 Other applications are for ulcers, infections, jaundice and inflammation. 11

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

Despite extensive research, we have not found any information on the ecological footprint of barberry. To illustrate the CO 2 footprint between fresh and dried fruits, we show values for apricots , which have a value of 0.79 kg CO 2 eq/kg when fresh and almost three times as much when dried at 2.24 kg CO 2 eq/kg. 20

Animal protection - species protection

The common barberry, like other barberry plants, is popular with birds, insects and bees. Birds eat the red berries and the shrub offers shelter from predators thanks to its thorns. Barberry is therefore often planted in parks or as a hedge plant along the property. The yellow flowers from April to June also provide bees and other insects with plenty of nectar. 19

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Barberries ( Berberis vulgaris ) are native to North Africa, West Asia and Southern and Central Europe. They grow at 800-1500 m above sea level, even in dry and stony soils. 3 It is assumed that the barberry came from Africa via Spain to Central Europe. 1 Barberries are mainly cultivated in cooler regions. 3

Iran is one of the largest producers of barberry berries. In the Khorasan region alone (a growing region in the northeast) around 4,500 tons are produced, and in the whole of Iran around 10,000 tons are produced per year. 2,4 The seedless variety "Asperma" predominates there and has been cultivated for more than 200 years. It is believed that the common barberry will eventually produce seedless fruits. 2


barberries prefer a partially shaded to sunny location. They have no special requirements for the soil and grow on calcareous, dry to moderately moist substrates. 2

Barberry bushes are usually purchased as young plants in pots. They can be repotted in the garden from spring to autumn. They generally do not require fertilization or watering. The bush is summer green and has many thorns. When it blooms, hermaphroditic, yellow, fragrant flowers appear. If you want to eat the berries, you should choose low-acid, seedless varieties.

To promote fruit production, barberries should be pruned regularly, similar to currants . 2 The ripe fruits are harvested in August and September. 1

Industrial production

A large proportion of the dried barberries sold worldwide come from Iran, where the fresh, mostly seedless berries are harvested from mid-September to mid-November. Three techniques are used for drying: sun drying, drying in dark rooms and industrial drying. 70% of the berries are dried in the sun, which takes around 20 days. However, this method leads to a reduction in the color pigments and a loss in taste and consistency. Industrial drying at 55–60 °C for around 20 hours also leads to a loss in quality. The most gentle method is drying in the shade. The fruits are spread out on wooden or metal frames and dried in well-ventilated, dark rooms. The drying time is up to 3 months. However, the fruits are more colorful, rounder and are the best in terms of taste and appearance. 18

Further information

The common barberry ( Berberis vulgaris ) belongs to the barberry family (Berberidaceae). Barberries are popular ornamental trees for gardens and parks because of their flowers, leaves and berries.

Barberry plants act as intermediate hosts for the black rust of cereals ( Puccinia graminis ). Infected leaves show orange-yellow to rust-brown pustules on the underside, from which the spores of the black rust fungus spread through the wind and can attack cereals such as wheat , barley , oats and rye . This is why barberry plants have been almost eradicated in some parts of Europe. 2

Alternative names

The common barberry is also called real barberry, vinegar berry or sour thorn and should not be confused with sea buckthorn , whose berries can also be eaten. Other names are boy's bush, three-thorn, vinegar-sharp, cuckoo's bread, spit-thorn, Spitzbeerli and Zitzerlstrauch. 1 Barberry also has many regional trivial names.

The English name is Barberry.

Other uses

The bark and roots were formerly used to "dye" textiles, leather and wood yellow. The hard wood is suitable for inlay and turning work. 2