Barberry color and appearance depends on several factors some of which are as follows:
- Time of harvest is the most important factor influencing barberry color transparency or darkness: early harvested barberry is lighter in color whereas the later it is harvested the darker its color will be. Late summer when the weather begins to get cold, barberries turn from green to pink, then to light red and finally to dark red. Barberry harvested in the first month of Fall is usually more transparent and lighter in weight. However, from the beginning of the second month in fall it becomes juicy and increasingly darker in color. Consequently, although light red barberry has a better appearance and is more attractive, it will have fewer properties than juicy barberry.
2. Barberry drying method is another factor influencing its color. No matter what time barberry is harvested from the shrub, its color will become dark if it is exposed to direct sunlight in open space (and probably to rainfall in the fall) and it will lose its transparency and light color. Conversely, barberry color will remain fixed and more transparent if it is dried in covered space and not exposed to direct sunlight and rain.
- Frost and rain are another factor that affects barberry color. From the second month in fall when barberries become juicy, their skin becomes thiner and more vulnerable. Therefore, reduced temperature and rainfall events during fall cause fruit cracking, which will darken its color.
- Barberry cleaning process also influences its color. After barberries are separated from the branches and leaves, the petioles and the other unwanted parts must be removed from them in two stages. First, some water and liquid oil is added to counter the stickiness of the fruit juice. It must be mentioned that addition of the liquid oil will facilitate and accelerate the cleaning process, but it will increase vulnerability of the barberiies and decrease their quality because oiled barberries absorb a considerable amount of the environmental contaminants and the color of oiled barberries will turn from red to black over time.
5. The last influential factor that gives a deceiving color to barberry is the excessive use of water and oil in the cleaning process (and even after it). Somewhat moistening dried barberry is necessary to protect it against breaking up in the drying drum, but excessive use of water to increase fruit weight and of oil to give it a deceiving appearance, which is practiced in rare cases in barberry cleaning workshops, increases fruit weight and gives it a false appearance to decive the customers.