What is it? Well…
Pearl barley (or “pearled barley”) is barley processed to remove its hull and bran. Barley must have its fibrous outer hull removed before it can be eaten; pearl barley is taken a step further, polished to remove the bran layer.
Pearl barley is the most common form of barley for human consumption, probably because it cooks faster and is less chewy than other, less-processed forms of barley. (source: wikipedia).
…..Because pearl barley undergoes more processing, some insoluble fiber, trace minerals and micronutrients may be lost. Pearl barley is not considered whole grain. However it’s important to note that pearl barley (even heavily pearled barley) retains significant amounts of fiber, particularly heart-healthy soluble fiber. This is because, unlike some other grains, barley contains fiber throughout the entire kernel and not just in the outer bran layer. (source: barleyfoods.org)
Read about the many health benefits of barley, here.
Not only is barley a great way to add fiber, vitamins and antioxidants- it tastes good, too! The texture is comparable to brown rice- just a little plumper and maybe a tiny bit chewier. This makes it easy to substitute in the place of rice in some of your dishes.
My kids loved it and said they actually liked it better than rice. If you wonder where to find it in the grocery store, I found it with the dry beans.
Here is a simple, easy way you can prepare Pearl Barley to serve with your other dishes. The ingredients are almost the same as my Baked Brown Rice recipe, and the method is exactly the same. Only the measurements are different.
You could also branch off into many different versions of this basic recipe. Use chicken broth instead of water or add different spices in addition to the salt and pepper. Lots of options!
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup dry pearl barley
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. butter, cut into chunks or slices, (optional)
Boil the water. Pour the barley in a small, greased baking dish. (about a 1 1/2 qt. size) Sprinkle with salt and dot with slices of the butter. Sprinkle with pepper.
Pour the boiling water over the barley. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 1 hour.
You may also like: Baked Brown Rice