Barley contains all eight essential amino acids. According to a recent study, eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain wheat, which has a similar glycemic index. Barley can also be used as a coffee substitute.
Difference between barley and wheat?
Barley is similar to wheat but it's more open heads than wheat, more a grass style than wheat. Its more often used as animal feed or in brewing.
Hulled barley (or covered barley) is eaten after removing the inedible, fibrous outer hull. Once removed, it is called dehulled barley (or pot barley or scotch barley). Considered a whole grain, dehulled barley still has its bran and germ making it a nutritious and popular health food. Pearl barley (or pearled barley) is dehulled barley which has been steam processed further to remove the bran. It may be polished, a process known as "pearling". Dehulled or pearl barley may be processed into a variety of barley products, including flour, flakes similar to oatmeal, and grits.
Benefits of Barley
With a long history of cultivation in the Middle East, barley is used in a wide range of traditional Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish foodstuffs including kashkak, kashk and murri. Barley soup is traditionally eaten during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia. It is also used in soups and stews in Eastern Europe. In Africa, where it is a traditional food plant, it has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
Barley will grow well on much lighter land than wheat demands, and in wetter climates. It is much faster growing than wheat.
The preparation of the land is much the same as for wheat, except that the tilth should be much finer and the last ploughing not too deep: four inches is enough.
Harvesting can be just the same as for wheat in every respect. For a malting sample do not harvest until the grain is dead ripe and the ears all falling over. The traditional way to harvest fine barley was to cut it with a scythe and not tie it, but 'make' it like hay. That is rake it up into swatches, turn it by rake or pitchfork until both straw and grain are bone dry, then cock it like hay, cart it to the stack and stack it, and thresh it out in the winter when there is nothing else to do. I think for the smallholder this is a very good way of harvesting barley.
If you liked this page, you might also be interested in this page about Growing Wheat.
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