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.
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.
lorraine arams on June 10, 2010:
Thanks - I've been looking for something like this for a while but I guess barley is not exactly a "buzz" word - at least not yet - very helpful -
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 10, 2010:
My mum cooked barley a lot when we were kids. Useful hub
Russell-D from Southern Ca. on June 10, 2010:
I’m your latest fan, because like you, I love food. As I read your hubs, I noted a similarity between experiences my wife and I enjoyed, described in the HUB Chapters of my book “A La Carte”; Tales Of Food & Drink Digested From 55 Years of International Travel. (Russell-D). Funny how recipes passed generation to generation world-wide are now being given new looks and new flavor combinations by young, inspired chefs in every country. To me when “new” works, it always opens new taste possibilities. Though I’m an 82 year old food-junkie, I still believe somewhere out there exists for me that dish of which there never was better. I know I’ll never find it, but the looking, the tasting and the enjoying along the way keeps the search ever interesting. David Russell.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on June 10, 2010:
Fantastic hub. I came over to see what was cookin. I am grateful I did. Barley sooo... good for us. Thank you.
I would have never thought of barley but a great tip. Hugs and Love
Wendy Henderson from Cape Coral on June 10, 2010:
I've never cooked it by itself. But I always add it to beef soup. Great Hub.
India Arnold from Northern, California on June 09, 2010:
Barley is making a come-back lately. It has many forgotten qualities including its health and fiber attributes. So glad you wrote about it! The tips are great and I love the barley risotto idea.
Thanks for the read. Voting up.