Content of the article:
unpretentious shrub native of Asia Minor, barberryToday in the wild-growing form it is found in the countries of Central and Southern Europe and in North Africa, in the Middle East and the Caucasus, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It was here that the shrub began to grow as a cultivated plant and turned into a source of irreplaceable spices - dried sour berries, which from time immemorial improved the taste of meat dishes and were used to make thirst-quenching drinks.
The fruits of the barberry, which remain on the branches of the shrub from autumn to spring and do not lose their beneficial properties even in the most severe frosts, in the East are reasonably considered to be a symbol of longevity and endurance.
Since ancient times, Arabian and Indian healers have used barberry in the treatment of diseases of internal organs, berries have been used as a wound-healing, disinfecting drug. Preparations of barberry for the winter to fully preserve the active substances present in the composition of the berries.
Harvest time and composition of barberry berries
Modern research on the composition of barberry fruits has confirmed the value of natural raw materials as a medicinal and vitamin remedy. In addition to thirty calories, one hundred grams of barberry berries contains vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and anthocyanins, pectins, tannins and organic acids. But all these natural riches can be beneficial only when eating ripe berries, because in the immature fruits the berberine alkaloid, which is toxic to the body, is dangerous for the body.
Not only has the barberry become a spectacular decoration of gardens and parks, its fruits are a godsend for chefs. What can be made of barberry, so that its useful qualities can be used in the winter?
Spicy sauces, marmalades and jams are made from fresh berries, and on the basis of barberry you can get original liqueurs and tinctures, jams and spices for meat and cereal dishes.
After all, it is not without reason that in the East there is an opinion that pilaf becomes one when the purple berries of barberry fall into it. The time for collecting sour spicy berries comes only in the deep autumn, when the content of vitamins, minerals and other substances useful to humans becomes maximum. At the same time, it is not worthwhile to postpone harvesting, because with the first serious frosts the fruits soften and it becomes more difficult to preserve them.
How to dry the barberry at home?
The most popular way to harvest barberries for the winter is to dry the fruit. It can be carried out in the open air, in a domestic oven or in a special dryer for vegetables and fruits. Before drying the barberry, after gathering, pick the ripe berries, cleaning them from damaged fruit and foreign inclusions, wash and dry them thoroughly on clean napkins, then lay them out on sieves, trays or baking trays:
- If the barberry is dried in a oven or a special dryer, vegetableraw materials in the first stage should not be heated above 50 ºC.When only the berry stops giving juice, the temperature in the chamber is raised to 60 ºC.
- Barberry, remaining for drying in fresh air, it is better to cover with gauze or fine mesh to save from wind, birds and insects. Do not allow the location of the berries in direct sunlight.
Fruits torsion during drying, trying not to damage the berries and preventing them from sticking together.
The end of the process is determined by squeezing a handful of berries in the palm of your hand. If the barberry remains crumbly, does not choke and does not leave traces of juice on the palms, the drying is completed, and the cooled fruits are poured into clean, dry containers equipped with tight lids. Quality dried barberries, as in the photo, can be distinguished by:
- pleasant, inherent culture smell;
- uniform purple color, without darkening, traces of mold, burning and dirt;
- glossy dense surface.
Dried berries can be stored for up to a year and serve not only for flavoring dishes and drinks, but also for healing.
Is it possible to prepare barberries for the winter in other ways? Of course, the mass of various preparations will help to replenish the diet in the cold season. An example is the sterilized berry, without any additives or processing. If the dry, dry berry is packed tightly in glass jars, sterilized and closed, the barberry remains practically fresh and can later be used both as a seasoning and for making standalone dishes.
Juice, jelly and marmalade from barberry
You can make a concentrate for making compotes, juice, jelly and fruit juice from the barberry. For this, berries, peeled from leaves, twigs and other impurities, pour a small amount of water so that it covers a layer of barberry. After this, the container with the fruits is set on fire, brought to a boil and the softened barberry is passed through a press. The resulting juice can be poured into clean containers, sterilized and used during the winter to acidify marinades and sauces.
Interested in what can be made from barberries, do not forget that after adding some sugar to the concentrated juice, it becomes an excellent basis for jelly, compotes and other drinks. If you put between 750 and 1000 grams of sugar per kilogram of grated berries or juice and boil the composition, the natural pectins in the barberry will turn the cooled mass into marmalade or homemade jelly.
Barberry jam for the winter
Unlike barberry jelly for the winter and harvesting for juice, the jam of the acidic berries of this shrub is not required to be ground and pressed. On 1 kg of berries take 1.5 kg of sugar and the same amount of water:
- The fruits are sorted and washed, and then filled with water to soften the skin, and the berries began to give juice.
- After 8–10 hours, the barberry is poured over with sugar syrup and set on a small fire.
- After 30–40 minutes of boiling, the berries become soft, and when the syrup on the saucer leaves a round drop, the jam is removed from the heat, poured into cans and stored in a cool place.
Unusual barberry blanks for the winter: pickles and sauce for meat dishes
A liter of water and 120–150 grams of salt are used to pickle the berries of barberry per kilogram of fruit. If desired, spicy herbs can be added to the brine, for example, rosemary, basil or oregano, and you can put such oriental spices as cinnamon, cardamom and pepper into the harvesting of basil for the winter. Pure, dried fruits are placed tightly over the banks and poured with cooled brine. After sterilization, the original dressing for poultry or game dishes can be kept in the cold all winter. What of the barberry can be done yet?
Sour fruit sauce will help gourmets in their own kitchen feel like in India or North Africa. This is a great addition to rice, couscous and roast duck.
A kilogram of peeled barberry berries will require 250 grams. First, the fruits poured in with water are boiled until softened, ground, freed from seeds and dense particles of the peel, and then sugar is added to the puree and brought to a boil. Now it’s time to add real oriental spices: cloves, grated ginger, cinnamon and ground pepper, as well as other spices of personal choice. The sauce is removed from the heat when it becomes thicker, but it does not lose the initially bright color and flavor. After pouring the product into glass containers, the sauce must be sterilized and closed.
Alcohol and wine liqueurs are also prepared on the basis of barberry.
But not only berries are beneficial. This amazing plant also has roots and leaves, therefore such raw materials from barberry are worthy of being harvested for the winter.
Harvesting barberry leaves and rhizomes for the winter
The leaves, except for almost all the components found in the fruits of the barberry, are rich in essential oils and resinous substances. In folk medicine, the roots of the shrub and even the barberry bark are used. What can be made from barberry leaves? Such raw materials are dried to be used during the summer and autumn when pickling cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. Together with dried berries, chopped leaves can be added as a seasoning to baked meat.
But if the time of picking berries is the middle or second half of autumn, then the leaves accumulate the greatest amount of valuable substances in May or June. The best raw materials are young shoots, about 10 cm long, and foliage on them. How to dry barberry leaves in the dryer and oven? The collected raw materials are washed, dried, wetted with a napkin, and laid out in a thin layer on baking sheets. During drying in the oven, the temperature should not exceed 45–50 ºC.
If the barberry is harvested for the winter correctly, the leaves, roots and fruits do not darken and retain all the beneficial properties.
It is more convenient to dry the leaves in the open air with small bunches covered with gauze and located in a ventilated, sheltered from the sun's rays. In such conditions, the raw material spends 5-7 days, after which the leaves are ready for use and stored in paper bags or glass containers. Similarly, dried barberry roots, harvested for the winter in late autumn and taken from adult bushes, which can bear the loss of a small part of the root system. Raw materials are cleaned from soil, damaged areas and small, filiform rhizomes, and then dried. The quality product used for medicinal purposes should be light yellow or cream on the cut.