Barberries have a tart slightly sweet flavour and they can be eaten raw, dried or cooked. They are very nutritious, packed with Vitamin C and other antioxidants and trace minerals such as zinc. Traditionally used to help in cases of diarrhoea though if eaten in quantity, the opposite effect might happen. You will most commonly find them dried in small packages near the other dried fruits in a health food shop or large supermarket. Add to a vibrant and colourful vegetable slaw and the barberries bring a nice zingy sharpness along with all the health benefits of colourful berries, plus a few extra qualities that support the organs of digestion – pancreas, liver and digestive tract. This would be an excellent salad for someone with a touch of gout!
You could also add a tablespoon of kimchi or other fermented vegetable pickle for even more depth of flavour and the additional health benefits of probiotic food.
This recipe will serve 4 and is best when the dressing is poured over the vegetables just before eating.
½ small red cabbage, finely shredded
¼ red onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and slivered
15g dried barberries
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Dressing: 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, S&P
Shred the cabbage finely, chop the onion and use a vegetable peeler to slice off thin ribbons of carrot. Cut the pomegranate in half and holding one half upside down, bash the round skin side with a wooden spoon sharply so that the individual seeds drop out onto a board. Use your fingers to loosen any stubborn seeds. Discard any pith, which is very bitter and not nice to eat.
Add the cabbage, onion, carrot ribbons, parsley, dried fruit and pomegranate seeds to a large bowl and turn the over to mix the ingredients.
Put the dressing ingredients into a jam jar, screw on the lid and give it all a good shake to emulsify the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
When you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over the vegetables. Sprinkle a few more pomegranate seeds over the top to decorate.