It is widely said that Barley was first cultivated about 10,000 years ago in Ethiopia and some parts of Southeast Asia. Barley has been used not only for food and creating alcoholic drinks but was also used for medicinal purposes.
Barley is a cereal grain having a slightly nutty flavor and chewy mouth feel. There are different types of barley available in the market like pearled barley where the hull and the bran of the grain are removed; making this type of barley more of a refined grain, Hulled barley, only the hull of the barley is removed leaving the brain, germ and the endosperm intact. This is the popular barley that most of us buy.
Finally is the Hulless barley, the hull is still loosely attached to the barley. In this variety, the cooking time is longer and the grain may be chewier. Most nutritionists recommend barley also an important and healthy food to eat apart from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, whole wheat bread and oats. It is one of the oldest cereal grains used traditionally for making beer, bread and gruels.
Barley was one of the main foods of the Greeks and valued its ability to give physical strength and mental alertness. Barley water is popularly said to be an easy to digest and tonic to the liver. Barley malt, is a sweet beverage originated in China before it became popular and used almost exclusively as a sweetener in Japan. Today, pearl barley is a hot favorite of the Japanese, while the grain is highly valued in Tibet and surrounding areas around the Himalayan range.
Barley is considered to be the world’s fourth most important crop and an important staple in many countries. This grain is widely cultivated in Europe, Ethiopia, Russia, China, India, Canada, United States and Mediterranean areas like Greece, Turkey, Iran, Syria and Egypt.
Types of Barley:
Pearl Barley: Is the most common form of barley available in most supermarkets. It is commonly known as pearled barley because the outer hulls including the bran have been removed hence the grains have a pearly white color. They cook in less time than the whole grain hulled form, many of its nutrients are scoured away along with the bran but still pearl barley is rich in protein and high in fiber.
Hulled Barley: This is considered to be the most nutritious form of barley with only the outer most hull removed. With its bran still intact, the hulled barley is nutrient dense and high in fiber. It’s full of important trace minerals like iron and a range of vitamins B. The cooking time of this variety is longer than of other types of barley, but the nutritional benefits are worth the effort. Its distinct nutty flavor and brownish color are an added bonus to the food.
Barley flakes or rolled barley: They have a similar appearance of rolled oats and are often included in muesli type cereals. Since barley flakes are a favourite grain of the Japanese and Koreans, they can often be found at Asian markets.
Barley flour: It is the hulled barley that is finely ground to make flour and has a light and delicate sweetness. Since barley has low-gluten content, it is frequently blended with other flours in baking. Barley is not just an ingredient for soups anymore. Eating barley has different benefits. This nutritionally rich cereal grain lends a nutty flavour and chewy texture to various dishes like salads, cakes, squares, muffins, casseroles and risottos etc.
Packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, barley is also a good source of nutrients and antioxidants. The beta-glucan fibre found in barley led to a significant decrease in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol ("the bad cholesterol").
Barley also helps in the stabilization of blood glucose levels. In short, eating barley is good for people with diabetes. This is because fiber found in barley can cause a delay in the stomach emptying and can slow down the body's absorption of carbohydrates from foods.
Barley should be included in the diet of a person suffering from this health problem. Barley offers amazing healthy benefits such as: it is rich in fiber, lowers cholesterol levels, stabilizes blood glucose levels, aids in weight loss etc. One of my favourite and nutritious recipes of barley is Beet and Barley broth with Chicken.
Do try and enjoy its exceptional flavours.
To try more dishes, do click on: https://www.vahrehvah.com You could always reach me at my below links:
Enjoy Cooking! Keep Smiling…