Nowadays, people pay great attention to their lifestyle and try to follow all the instructions to be healthy and happy. One of the most essential things in a healthy lifestyle is food.
Different kinds of grains become more and more popular; especially it concerns barley. You have never heard about this grain and are in doubts whether to try it or not? It is not a problem; here you will find all the answers about this food.
So, where is it in a grocery store?
You are in a big grocery store and wondering where to find barley. There can be several places where you can buy it. The first one is the grain section. Here you can find many different grains, which also include barley. You can check the place with rice and beans. You are likely to find barley there.
One more stop for this product is the breakfast section with different cereals and cornflakes. If you do not find barley here, you can also go to the soup section, because barley is often used for cooking soups.
Now it is not a problem to find barley, however, you would like to learn more about this grain and its benefits. Nobody wants to buy an unknown product. Here you will discover more useful information about barley that you have never known or heard.
1. What is barley?
Barley is a high-fiber and protein-rich grain that has a mild nutty flavor and chewy texture. You can use barley in soups, salads and some stews.
There are various variants of this grain. It can be whole grain, pot barley, and pearl one. They all have different features and benefits, but the most useful one is the whole grain barley.
What vitamins does barley include?
Everybody wants to know what vitamins a product contains and how it is useful for health. So, what benefits does barley have? Barley includes a significant number of B-group vitamins. The whole grains also have iron, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and magnesium.
As well it contains some copper and calcium. All these vitamins and minerals help to support a healthy heart. Its fiber lowers an amount of cholesterol in your blood that a person has less risk to have heart diseases.
Nutrients content of barley
One-half cup (100 grams) of uncooked, hulled barley contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 354
- Carbs: 73.5 grams
- Fiber: 17.3 grams
- Protein: 12.5 grams
- Fat: 2.3 grams
- Thiamine: 43% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Riboflavin: 17% of the RDI
- Niacin: 23% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 16% of the RDI
- Folate: 5% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 33% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 26% of the RDI
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Zinc: 18% of the RDI
- Copper: 25% of the RDI
- Manganese: 97% of the RDI
- Selenium: 54% of the RDI
Other benefits of barley
Barley is a perfect product for your health and a good source of useful stuff:
- The soluble fiber in barley can control the level of blood sugar, so this dish is beneficial for people with diabetes;
- All vitamins that barley contains keep our immune system strong and intact;
- Barley water is a perfect drink during pregnancy because it regulates digestion and copes with constipation as it has fiber;
- Barley can struggle with cancer. It is a source of lignan, a plant nutrient. This plant helps to fight such diseases as colon cancer, leukemia, and hormonal cancers.
How to cook barley?
To cook tasty and tender barley, you need to combine water and barley in a pot and boil it. After boiling, it is required in order to reduce heat and cover the grain.
Then you simmer it until it is cooked. Cooking time is different for various types of barley. For example, pearled barley needs 45-60 minutes, hulled one requires about 90 minutes, and quick barley can be cooked only for 15-20 minutes. Remember to use 3 cups of water per cup of grain.
Do we need to wash barley before cooking?
Usually, when we cook any grain, we wash it before cooking to get rid of unnecessary things. What about barley? Should we wash it as well? Maybe you do not need to wash it clearly, but it is better to rinse barley several times. It helps you to get rid of any dust that the grain can have. Rinsing also helps to give a clear taste to your dish.
Is it necessary to pre-soak barley?
Usually, grains are pre-soaked for reducing cooking time. Does it work with barley? The answer is definitely yes. If you want to lower cooking time to 15 minutes, then you need to pre-soak barley for an hour or overnight. However, if you have enough time, it is better to cook barley without pre-soaking.
Can you add uncooked barley to soup?
Cooking soup, we are used to putting raw grain to it. But barley is needed to be cooked for about an hour, so how to be in this situation? The first thing you can do is to pre-soak barley. Then it will be softer, and it takes only 20 minutes to cook it.
You can add pre-soaked barley at the end of cooking. However, if you cook soup for several hours, it is possible to add raw grain without pre-soaking. It also depends on what kind of barley you prefer: softer or harder.
3. Is it possible to substitute barley?
Sometimes there are such situations that you cannot find barley in shops or you need to replace it with no less nutritious and useful grain. But what is a substitute for barley?
The answer is it depends on your dish. If you want to use grain as a separate dish, it is better to substitute it with buckwheat, quinoa or rice.
If you’re going to add barley to soup, you can use lentils or beans instead of it. If you prefer salads, the best way to substitute barley is to use couscous or bulgur.
What is better: brown rice or barley?
Everybody knows about the useful features of brown rice. But is barley healthier than rice? Rice has five times more vitamin E and folate. These vitamins are especially good for women.
But barley has twice more calcium and fiber. Both grains have the same amount of protein and fat. The only difference is that barley has fewer calories in comparison with brown rice. So, you can prefer what you like. Both grains are perfect for your health.
Are barley and oats the same?
People often think that oat and barley are the same grains, but it is not valid. They are different.
Oats are usually used in breakfast porridge. They have a nutty flavor that is a perfect adding to bread or other foods. Oats are high in protein, fiber, vitamin E. Nowadays, people eat oats in the form of oatmeal or granola bars.
Barley is a whole-grain food, so it is beneficial and healthy for the body. It includes soluble fiber that can reduce blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Barley is also low in fat.
There are different types of barley. The choice of barley depends on the dish you prepare. It is used as a thickener for soups and stews, and as well in the bakery.
You can also meet barley flour that is usually combined with wheat one in baked goods. Barley flakes can be added to the bakery. Barley is also used in the malted form.
As you can see, these grains are different but useful. The only thing is that the usage of barley is wider. For example, you cannot use oats in soups or stews.
What is the difference between barley and quick barley?
In some shops, you can meet different kinds of barley. There are barley and quick barley among them. How to understand the difference between them and to choose the best one? Despite that fact that two variants are nutritious, they have various cooking time.
You need only 10-15 minutes to cook quick barley and about an hour for barley. Why? Because quick barley has been partially cooked and dried during the process. That is why quick barley is not whole grain and loses some minerals and vitamins.
Can people eat raw barley?
If you are a rawatarian, you try to eat all the food in a raw way. It is not a problem with vegetables or fruit, but how about grains, especially barley? Of course, you can eat it raw, but it can be hard for your digestive system.
Also, the flavor of raw barley is specific, and not everybody can taste it. The way out is to soak or sprout barley. After this process, this grain will be softer for chewing and milder in taste.
Is barley good for weight loss?
As barley contains fiber, you feel full for an extended period. This fact often reduces and usually not useful snacks during the day. Water in barley causes proper digestion and effective metabolism of your body. Also, barley consists of fewer calories that helps you not to gain much weight. All these points are perfect for losing weight.