It's not just for soup!
As a child, my favorite Campbell's soup was Beef Barley.
It's only been in recent years that I've realized barley can actually be used for other things…
Like Chicken Barley Soup.
Um, I need to correct that last statement. When I was at university I did learn that another, very important use for barley, was in the making of that college dietary staple: beer. Now that I think about it, I consumed rather a lot of barley in that form… Think of how healthy I must have been.
Almost half of the barley grown in the US is used in making beer. The other half is used for animal feed with a small portion going for human consumption – primarily beef barley soup.
That is changing, chez moi.
We eat a lot of different grains. In a typical week we'll have whole grain pasta, 2 or 3 different rices, and quinoa or barley as alternatives to the potatoes we were both raised on.
Variety makes life more interesting and healthier.
The barley that I get is 'quick-cooking', and only takes about 15 minutes to cook. Quick-cooking barley is usually pearled barley that has been pre-steamed to shorten the end cooking time. The steaming leaves the nutrients intact.
The other forms of barley available are:
Hulled: The minimum outer shell is removed leaving a chewy, robust grain. It takes 60 – 90 minutes to cook.
Pearled: After the hull is removed the grain is polished or 'pearled'. More polishing makes the barley quicker to cook and somewhat less nutrient dense. It takes 50 – 60 minutes to cook.
Pot/Scotch: Somewhere between Hulled and Pearled and more common in Europe. It cooks in about an hour.
If you are looking to add fiber to your diet, barley's your grain.
It has more than 3 times the fiber of brown rice, or blueberries; more than twice that of whole-wheat spaghetti or an apple.
In addition it's high in selenium, tryptophan, copper, manganese and phosphorus.
It's been shown to help lower cholesterol and control Type 2 Diabetes.
It's fiber is particularly friendly to the bacteria that live in your gut, keeping your intestines healthy and happy.
It's been an important food crop for the last 10,000 years or so….
This week's host is Zorra, of Kochtopf. Visit her blog on Monday, the 29th, for all the interesting recipes.
The event was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, where you can find the archives for all of the wonderful, creative recipes for the past 149 weeks!
Barley Pilaf Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes Serves 2
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock (or more, depending on type of barley)
1 small – medium carrot
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dry sherry
1 tbs fresh, snipped basil
1 tsp olive oil
Chop onion and carrot. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add onion, carrot and sauté until they start to get tender, about 5 minutes. Add barley, stock, soy sauce and sherry; stir to combine. Cover and simmer until barley is done, about 15 minutes or according to package directions. Snip basil. When barley is done, remove from heat, stir in basil and serve.
The first recorded recipe for barley wine was written in 2,800 BC in Babylon. Wonder if it aged….
And to think a 6-pack was a balance meal…..