Information about Grains: Barley

About barley, information about the grains, production, history and uses, nutritional value


About half of the world's crop of barley is used as livestock feed; the rest is used for human food and in malting (10%). Malted barley is used in the production of beer and other beverages (bere being one of barley's older names). Although barley is one of the principal crops of Africa and the Near East, its low gluten content--which results in a rather heavy bread--makes it less popular in Europe and the U.S. Barley is high in carbohydrates, with moderate quantities of protein, calcium, phosphorus, and small amounts of the B vitamins. It is easier to digest than wheat and is good for weak stomachs. Barley is great in winter soups, but try to get unhulled barley, which is not refined. Hulled barley is a good substitute for rice and potatoes when simmered for 20 minutes in water or broth. Pearl barley, which is polished, is mostly starch.

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