Wikipedia Article About Barley on Wikipedia
Barley contains eight essential amino acids. According to a recent study, eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar (i.e. reduce blood glucose response to a meal) for up to 10 hours after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain wheat, which has a similar glycemic index. The effect was attributed to colonic fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates. Barley can also be used as a coffee substitute.
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.
Barley-meal, a wholemeal barley flour which is lighter than wheatmeal but darker in colour, is used in porridge and gruel in Scotland. Barley-meal gruel is known as Sawiq in the Arab world. With a long history of cultivation in the Middle East, barley is used in a wide range of traditional Assyrian, Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and Assyrian 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.
The six row variety bere is cultivated in Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and the Western Isles in the Scottish Highlands and islands. The grain is used to make beremeal, used locally in bread, biscuits, and the traditional beremeal bannock.
Use in beverages
A large part of the remainder is used for malting, for which barley is the best suited grain. It is a key ingredient in beer and whisky production. Two-row barley is traditionally used in German and English beers. Six-row barley was traditionally used in US beers, but both varieties are in common usage now. Distilled from green beer, whisky has been made from barley in Ireland and Scotland, while other countries have utilized more diverse sources of alcohol; such as the more common corn, rye and molasses in the USA. The grain name may be applied to the alcohol if it constitutes 51% or more of the ingredients.
Non-alcoholic drinks such as barley water and barley tea (called mugicha in Japan) have been made by boiling barley in water. Barley wine was an alcoholic drink in the 18th century. It was prepared by boiling barley in water, then mixing the barley water with white wine and other ingredients like borage, lemon and sugar. In the 19th century a different barley wine was made prepared from recipes of ancient Greek origin.