Pearl barley is barley that has had its hull and bran. Barley can not be eaten without the outer hull being removed. Pearl Barley has also had its bran layer removed.

For Human Consumption, Pearl barley is the most common. It is faster to cook, less chewy and more readily digested.

Pearl barley can be used to make barley oatmeal flakes or ground into flour. The oatmeal can be used for porridge like traditional oats. Much of the processed barley is used directly as an animal feed or further processed to make pelletised stock feeds. It is estimated that roughly half of the barley grown in the world is used for stockfeed.

Barley is botanically recognised as ‘Hordeum vulgare’ of the family ‘Poaceae’.

Historically, the earliest known find that showed barley was used as a human foodstuff is in Syria dating back to at least 8,000BCE. Barley was noted as the most common grain of the era. Archaeological digs have also discovered barley at Palestine and Asia Minor.

Barley was historically used as a form of monetary exchange in ancient times, using a system perhaps similar to what we refer to today as Barter.

For human consumption pearl barley can be added to soups and stews. It has been used as an ideal replacement to rice and pasta. Pearl barley is used in many soup mixes to thicken soups and add nutrients. When used in soups it does not require pre soaking but it often has water added to it and poured off to remove loose flaking husks or contaminants that are unavoidable in the de-hulling process. Any foreign material floats to the top and can be poured away.

Much of the Dietary fibre is removed with the removal of the husk and bran layer of barley. It is still high in nutrients, however. Barley is high in B Group Vitamins and core mineral levels of Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium and Iron. Pearl Barley is a high source of protein.

Pearl barley is used in many, soups and stews produced in cans. It acts as a filling agent and thickens the soup or stew. I have used Pearl Barley instead of rice in creamed rice (barley) deserts. The cooking process is very similar and the taste though slightly different is ideal as a sweet dish.

Cook a cup of Pearl barley with a tablespoon of Brown sugar. Allow to cool and add a couple of tablespoons to your next bowl of icecream. It is also ideal stirred through custards before pouring over fruit pudding.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites or Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via these websites.