It has a toasty, nutty flavor while it has a pleasant chewy, pasta-like texture, yet it provides fermentation for beer and other distilled drinks. Used as early as 8000 BCE, barley’s not just for soups, and below find 50 recipes for using barley in a variety of ways.
Ancient barley was used as wages for Egypt’s pyramid laborers. For their hard work, they received barley flat bread and an allotment of barley-fermented beer. By the 5th millennium barley reached Spain then spread north into France and Germany. Next, it appeared in India, then China and not in the UK until around 500 BCE.
Barley is rich in fiber, vitamin B, selenium, copper, manganese and phosphorus. The most healthful barley is the hull-less, but not yet pearled and available at health stores. Pearled barley, available in general supermarkets has its husk, bran and germ removed.
Barley is milled into several forms: unhulled, pearls, flour, grits, powder, groats and flakes. Store as you would any grain.
COOK FOR USE BY ITSELF:
Rinse barley in strainer under running water. For every cup of barley add three cups water. After it reaches a simmer, turn heat to very low, cover and simmer for about 90 minutes. Stores also sell quick-cooking barley.
Substitute for rice or pasta
Goes well with: onion, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, garlic, chives, cilantro, basil, dill, carrots and peas.
Here are 50 barley recipes from the BarleyFoods.org.