Baking How Much Old Fashion Oats To Quick Oats How to Flavor Barley, Cooking Ideas For This Healthy Whole Grain

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How to Flavor Barley, Cooking Ideas For This Healthy Whole Grain

Barley is a plant that can withstand extreme temperatures and has a short growing season. About 95% of the barley grown in America is used for animal feed or to make beer. Like all grains, the outer husk of barley must be removed to make it edible. Whole grain barley (hulled barley) is the most nutritious form and the best to buy.

Unfortunately, most grocery stores carry pearl barley, which is more processed. The size determines how much of the bran and germ has been removed. The larger the pearl, the less it has been ground and the more nutrients and fiber it has retained. Whole grain barley can be found in health food stores. It has three times the protein of rice and, like oats, can help lower cholesterol. You should also know that it contains small amounts of gluten.

You can get barley flakes and cook it as an alternative to hot oatmeal. Like oatmeal, it can be seasoned with cinnamon and supplemented with raisins or berries. You can also use it as a substitute for oats when making cookies. Bob’s Red Mill is a manufacturer that includes bran and germ, thus maintaining the grain’s nutritional value. Without these parts, you are left with the same starch found in white flour.

Speaking of flour, you can substitute up to ½ cup of barley flour for every 2-3 cups of plain flour called for in a bread or other recipe. Try this easy muffin recipe that uses only barley flour. Whisk 1 cup of barley flour together with 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Whisk an egg, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and ½ cup water separately. Add the dry ingredients and stir in 1/3 cup raisins. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes (until browned), filling muffin tins halfway. It should make 6 muffins. Like white flour, barley flour can be used as a thickener. Try it the next time you make gravy or sauce.

You end up having to cook whole grain barley longer than pearl barley. It can actually take up to twice the time to cook, which I’m guessing is why it hasn’t become as popular as other starches. You can reduce the time by soaking it overnight (if you are good at planning ahead). However, a pressure cooker will reduce the time to around 40 minutes. While other grains double in size when cooked, barley expands to about four times the grain size.

Because it takes so long to cook, most recipes call for you to cook it before adding it to other foods, unless you’re using a crock pot. So if you’re just adding it to stews, soups, salads or casseroles, cook it first. It has a fantastic nutty flavor that is hard not to like. Pair it with parsnips to expand the nutty flavor. For vegetarians, it also adds a chewy texture that makes up for the lack of meat. Adding beans to the pot provides a complete protein and makes for more leftovers.

If you have a favorite recipe that involves potatoes or rice or pasta, give it an extra twist by replacing those starches with barley. It will be a nice surprise for both you and your family. Barley can handle any kind of spice you throw at it, whether it involves peppers or lightly aromatic herbs. I like to use Szechuan peppers with barley, along with thyme and sage. Whether you sweeten the flavor with cinnamon for breakfast or use it in a hearty soup, spice things up with one of your favorite spices.

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