Barley berries


Many food historians believe that barley is the world's oldest cultivated grain pointing to the fact that the ancients made barley breads long before they learned to grow and mill wheat.

Barley is a rugged grain, which, due to the sturdiness of the plant, can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Today, barley is considered as an excellent source of fiber. Barley can be effective in lowering serum cholesterol levels. Barley also contains protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins.

Forms of Barley

  • Hulled barley: It is the least processed barley, so it is rich in dietary fiber. It also contains more iron. Hulled barley is light brown and quite a bit bigger than pearled barley.
  • Pearled barley: the most processed product. Barley grains are scoured six times during milling to completely remove their pericarpe and their bran layer. Unfortunately, the process also removes nutrients.
    The colour of pearl barley is off white. It is the most common barley found.
  • Grits: similar to bulghur, these barley grains have been toasted and cracked into small pieces.
  • Barley flakes
  • Flour
  • Hato mugi: it is a type of barley which is used in Japanese barley dishes. The grain is hulled, compressed, and enriched. This grain traditionally grown in the Far East, has many medicinal uses.

Basic Cooking Instruction
Because of its neutral flavour, it is easy to blend barley's texture into a variety of foods: soups, breads, main dishes, granola...
Hulled barley can be cooked alone and used as rice or any other grain. Flavoured with garlic and onions, and cooked with three times its volume of water for one hour and a quarter will provide a crunchy side dish for steamed vegetables.
The barley can also be steamed.
The grain can be ground or cracked and used to make crackers or flavour bread.


100 g cooked pearled barley provide
Proteins 2 g
Fats 0.5 g
Carbohydrates 28 g
Fibre 4 g
Main Nutrients
Calcium 11 mg
Iron 1.3 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 93 mg
Phosphorus 54 mg
0.8 mg
Riboflavin 0.08 mg
Thiamine 0.06 mg
Niacin 2 mg


Barkey à la Turque
200 g barley
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
100 g raisins
30 g pignons
50 g sliced almonds
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 pinch safran
olive oil
Peel peppers and clear out the seeds
Shred them
Swell raisins in hot water
Soak barley during two hours and cook it
Fry peppers in oil and let simmer
Add raisins, pignons, almonds, cilantro and safran
Mix well and salt if necessary
Pour barley in a dish and cover it with peppers.

Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietitian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2002
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