Barley: Health Benefits, Types & How to Cook!
Barley is a member of the grass family and is one of the most popular types of cereal grains in the world. Cultivation of barley started 8000 years ago. Barley is harvested in the summer in the temperate areas and during the winter in the hot climates.This plant is resistant to drought, it germinates quickly and it has short growing season. Barley is described as having a rich, nutty flavor and a dense, chewy texture. Barley is a great addition to comfort foods like soups and stews, since it absorbs a lot of flavor and adds a filling, chewy element to dishes.
Types of barley
|Hulled Barley||Outermost hull of the grain is removed which makes it more chewier grain that requires more soaking and cooking.|
|Pearl Barley||Various degrees of polishing, or “pearling” take place in the production of pearl barley. Pearl barley is much less chewy and quicker cooking than hulled barley, less processed form of grain and would not be considered whole grain.|
|Pot Barley||In terms of processing, this form of barley falls in between hulled and pearl barley. It’s been polished to remove its outer hull, but the polishing process is not continued for much longer, so that a large amount of the remaining grain is left intact. In many countries, pot barley is popular in soups – thus the origin of its name.|
|Barley flakes||Flattened and sliced, barley flakes are similar in shape to rolled oats. Barley flakes can be made from hulled, hulless, or pearl barley, and can be significantly different in nutrient content for this reason.|
|Barley grits||Barley that has been toasted and cracked, barley grits are made from hulled, hulless or pearl barley.|
- High in Fiber
Because of high fiber content, barley helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Consuming foods that are high in fiber also makes you feel fuller, since fiber expands within the digestive tract and takes up a high volume of space.
- Aids in weight loss
Barley is very effective in promoting weight loss. Losing weight is often on our to-do list.
Consuming barley makes you feel fuller for a longer period and hence, suppresses the appetite. Moreover, the fiber in barley facilitates the removal of fat from the body. Thus, barley can aid weight loss.
- Improves Digestion
Having barley water can help you get rid of bloating. Barley juice is extremely beneficial for the digestive system. It helps to shed calories by preventing the buildup of fat and increasing the rate of metabolism.
- Ideal for Children
You can start with plain Barley Water, when you begin weaning your baby, and once the child is 10 to 12 months old, you can start flavouring it with jaggery, if your paediatrician approves.
- Cools down the body
Barley water is the perfect summer drink. It is light, easily digestible and brings down the body heat.
- Preserves Skin Elasticity
Barley is a good source of Selenium, which helps you to preserve skin elasticity, thereby protecting it against free radical damage and loosening. Moreover, it also improves our heart, pancreas, and immune system functioning.
- Mix barley flour with wheat flour to make breads and muffins that have a uniquely sweet and earthy taste.
- Use cracked barley or barley flakes to make hot cereal.
- Toss chilled cooked hulled barley with chopped vegetables and dressing to make a tasty cold salad.
- Add barley to your favorite stews and soups to give them extra heartiness and flavor.
- Combine cooked barley and healthy sautéed mushrooms for a pilaf with an Eastern European twist.
Barley Lentil Soup
- Barley – 1/2 Cup
- Lentils – 1 Cup
- Chopped Carrots – 1 Cup
- Onions – 1 Cup
- Tomato Paste – 1 tbsp
- Vegetable Broth – 6 Cups
- Bay Leaf – 1
- Finely Chopped Parsley – 1 tbsp
- Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in large soup pan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic and onion until they are golden brown, about 1 or 2 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the mixture is at a light simmer. Place a lid on the pan.
- Cook until the barley and lentils are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Serve hot in a soup bowl.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Method: At first boil 1.5 kg of barley until they turn soft. (add two volumes of water to one volume of barley). Then stain and carefully collect the extract. If you don’t prefer the taste of the barley water, you can add two teaspoons of lemon or orange juice to add flavors to the barley drink. If you store it in a cool refrigerator, it can last for a longer period.