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Ingredient of the week: Barley

 Ingredient of the week: Barley (Photo: iStock)

Cereals are identified with ancient history. Barley is on this list, with a rich history connected to the original cultivators, Sumerians and Egyptians.

According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, barley is a “hardy cereal with coarse bristles extending from the ears, cultivated especially for use in brewing and stock feed”.

The seeds have a nutty flavour and a chewy texture. They are divided into two main varieties: two-row barley and six-row barley.

The market sells barley as hulled, pearled, flakes, or flour. The difference between the hulled and pearled is that the hulled retains its bran and germ layers while the pearled has been polished to remove the bran layer.

Barley has several nutrients including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is an excellent dietary fibre source, including soluble and insoluble fibre, which promotes digestive health and may help lower cholesterol levels.

The brewery industry highly depends on barley to make alcoholic beverages like beer and whiskey. Other than that, barley is a staple ingredient in soups and stews adding a nutty flavour.

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