There are a few forms barely can come in, but the most common is in “pearl” form removed from the grass, husk, and bran, the pearl inside is what we find at most grocery stores because they are more palatable and easy to cook.
The pearls maintain a lot of their nutritional benefits and are packed with fiber (a great colon cancer fighter as it clears out gunk in the digestive tract) amino acids (building blocks for protein) B vitamins that help with all kinds of body functions and iron. Iron is needed to combat anemia which can make you spacey and fatigued.
One of my favorite ways to eat barely is in a soup with chickpeas, kale, garlic, nutritional yeast (which contains B12 the only B that barley does not have) chia seeds and turmeric. Whole grains and beans together are an incredible source of protein for a strong healthy body and all that fiber will clear out toxins.
Barley is slightly creamy, almost like risotto and can actually be used instead of risotto rice to make an amazing mushroom risotto out of barley. Barley is so filling and a great comfort food, as well as being incredibly inexpensive, so it is a wonderful staple food to have on hand. I like to mention budget friendly options because healthy eating should not just be a luxury for the wealthy, it is a necessity for everyone in order to feel good, get stuff done, heal and enjoy your life. The Hispanic section has bags of rice and grains for just a few dollars each that will make vast amounts of food at a fraction of the price with plenty of flavor and nutrients if you cook it up right with lots of antioxidant rich spices. Barley really does compare to quinoa for protein and nutrients. So don’t be intimidated to venture off into the parts of the grocery store you aren’t used to or enter ethnic grocery stores even if you aren’t of that ethnicity! It’s also a good way to support small business even if it’s just a few small purchases, local shops only work if locals support them.
The pearls expand when you cook them so one third of a bag is usually all I put in a big soup. You can also dry blend the pearls up to make a barley flour for healthy baking and add it to quinoa flour or oat flour too.
Give it a try and let us know what you think. What is your favorite barley recipe? Let us know in the comments below. ❤