Kathryn studies and writes about health, nutrition, and food safety.
Barley is a terrific food. Unfortunately, a lot of people choose not to eat barley, because they aren't quite sure how to cook it. This is too bad, because it's actually really easy to cook barley. And there are some little tips that you can implement to get a better taste without spending a lot of time or money on fancy barley recipes.
What Is Barley and Why Should We Eat It?
Barley is a type of grain that is really good for you. It is rich in protein, which is something that your body needs. It is filled with fiber, which helps your digestive system. It is a fat-free cholesterol-free food that is believed to be helpful in lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It tastes a lot like brown rice but is a bit different in texture, which means it gives you a new option for broadening your personal menu horizons.
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Basic Method of Cooking Barley
Cooking barley is actually really simple. It's a lot like cooking brown rice. All that you need to do is combine the barley with water in a pot, bring the water to a boil, and then cover it and let it simmer. You should use approximately 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of barley. After it has boiled, lower the heat and place the cover on your pot. At that point, it should take about 30 minutes for the barley to absorb the water and be ready to eat. You can strain the barley at the end to remove any excess water.
Additional Tips for Cooking Barley
Some of the things that you can do to cook barley in a manner that might taste a little bit better to you include:
- Allow the barley to steam after you have strained it. Let the barley sit in the pot, covered but with the heat off, for about 10 minutes before you serve it.
- Fluff the barley before you serve it. This is a simple little cooking tip that you should implement with all of the rices and grains that you cook on your stovetop.
- Consider using a rice cooker instead of cooking your barley on the stovetop. Many people find that they can cook barley in a rice cooker using the same method as when cooking rice and that it's simpler for them to make and enjoy barley this way.
- Instead of using water when boiling barley on the stovetop, consider using vegetable broth or chicken broth. This will give the barley a much richer flavor. Of course, you'll be adding some calories, but this isn't necessarily unhealthy.
- Soaking your barley overnight before you cook it will reduce the amount of time it takes to actually cook it. This is similar to cooking dried beans or other rice.
- You can actually choose to sauté your barley instead of boiling it. This is done when you are trying to make a more advanced dish like barley risotto.