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Also Known As
Jao, Hordeum vulgare
Barley is a versatile cereal grain derived from the grass Hordeum Vulgare. It resembles wheat berries, although it is slightly lighter in color. It has a nutty flavour and a chewy consistency.
Before cooking barley, rinse it thoroughly under water and pressure cook till done. You may also soak the barley before use. Use barley and water in the ratio of 1:3. It usually takes around an hour to cook. Pearl barley will take relatively less time to cook than hulled barley.
There are various forms of barley available in the market. A few forms are as follows:
· Pearl Barley: It is less chewy and can be cooked faster than other forms of barley. It is less in nutrients since the outermost hull, bran layer and even the inner endosperm layer may be removed while polishing.
· Hulled/ Dehulled Barley: As the name suggests, the outermost hull of the grain gets removed. It requires more soaking and cooking but is very nutritious.
· Scotch Barley: It is lesser polished form of barley than pearl barley. It is more nutritious than pearl barley.
· Barley Flakes: Made from hulled or pearl barley, it is flattened and sliced. It has an appearance similar to rolled oats and is used in soups etc.
· Cracked Barley: Barley is toasted and grilled and is similar in appearance to cracked wheat.
How to select
Hulled barley takes quite some time to cook and thus it is advised to soak barley overnight before cooking. Soaking softens the grains and ensures speedy cooking. To soak barley, clean the grains to ensure there is no dirt, stones etc. Add water, cover with a lid and allow to soak for around 8 hours or overnight. Soaked barley can be cooked and used in soups, stews, porridges etc.
Barley is generally available in hulled, pearl and flakes. Whether purchasing in bulk or in small packages, hulled and flaked form. It is available prepackaged as well as in bulk containers. Whatever the packaging, ensure that you check the manufacturing and expiry date before purchasing. Culinary Uses
· Since barley is a nutritional product, it is used in making Kanji. Roast and powder barley and cook with little water. Once cooked, combine with milk and sugar and consume immediately.
· Since it is widely cultivated in Middle East, it is used in a range of Arabic, Turkish and Persian cuisines.
· Combine barley flour with wheat flour to make breads, dosas, biscuits, muffins etc.
· Pearl barley is commonly used to nourish soups, stews etc. In Saudi Arabia, barley soup is traditionally eaten during Ramadan.
· Cracked barley or barley flakes can be used like other nourishing cereals to make porridges etc.
· Sprouted barley is naturally high in sugar (maltose) and is used as a base for malt syrups and sweetners.
· Barley is one of the primary ingredients used in beer, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.
· Combine cooked barley with vegetables and dressings of your choice to make healthy salads.
· Non alcoholic beverage like barley water and barley tea is prepared by boiling barley in water. How to store
Store barley in a covered glass container in a cool, dry place away from moisture. It can also be stored in the refrigerator during periods of warm weather.Health Benefits
· Barley's content of fiber allows it to be part of a diet that lowers cholestrol and protects the intestine.
· Since it is also a good source of Niacin, it is beneficial for women with high blood pressure etc during menopause.
· It is a good source of manesium, which is required in use of glucose and insulin secretion.
· In contains essential amino acids which can regulate blood sugar levels.