14 Apr 2006


Barley is the oldest cereal known to man, dating back 4,000 years. It was used in Abyssinia, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, Tibet and Nepal where it is still a staple food.

In modern times the majority is used for animal feed. The whole barley kernel is rolled, ground, or flaked, prior to being fed to cattle, pigs and chickens.

A large portion of Barley is processed into Malt to be used in the production of beer and whiskey, in malted milk and hot drinks and flavorings for other foods. It is also made into Barley Malt Flour.

A small portion is turned into pearl barley, flour, flakes and grits and sold in those forms or added to breakfast cereals, breads, snacks and soups.

Barley contains phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, zinc, niacin and folic acid. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibre and helps maintain a healthy colon and reduce cholesterol levels. Approx 10% of the barley weight is protein.

Barley Water has for generations been popular with the British Royal Family to keep their complexions flawless. Here is how to make it:
Simmer at low heat 1/2 cup of pearl barley in 2 1/2 quarts (2.5 litres) of boiling water for 1hour.
Squeeze 2 lemons and 6 oranges (organic if possible) and put to the side.
Strain the water from the cooked barley and put in a bowl with the rinds from the oranges and lemons and add honey to taste.
Allow to stand until cold.
Remove the rinds and add the lemon and orange juice.

Barley flour can be used in combination with other flours when baking and can be used to thicken sauces and soups.

Sprout some barley to put in your salads or grow barley grass to add when juicing your fruit and vegetables.

Try this simple recipe from Wahington Barley for Barley Apricot Pilaf. Combine 1-3/4 cups vegetable stock, 1 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 cup pearl barley, 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots and 1/4 cup raisins in saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle pilaf with 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds and 1 teaspoon grated orange peel just before serving.

Barley Foods also have a few Vegan recipes and lots of others that could be adapted to Vegan.

Try some barley to add some variety to the cereals you normally eat.

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