Grain of the Month: Whole Grain Barley

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

The first Tuesday of every month we will be featuring a grain. The posts will include background on the grain, nutritional information, instructions on how to store and cook it, and, of course, one or two healthy recipes for using the grain. Our goal is to help you add variety to your meals in 2012!


Famously know as an ingredient in beer, whole grain barley is also a versatile grain that adds a nutty flavor and a chewy, pasta-like texture to a dish.

Nutritional Profile:
Whole grain barley’s spotlight nutritional benefit is it is an excellent source of fiber and selenium. It is also a good source of phosphorus, copper, and manganese.

Buying and Storing:
Like many grains, there are numerous types of barley and not all of them are whole grains. There are three general types of barley: pearl, hulled (sometimes called “dehulled”), hulless and pot. Hulled and hulless barely are both considered whole grains and have only had the hull, the inedible portion, removed. Pearl and pot barley are not whole grains. Many companies have made it even easier to decipher which variety to choose from by stating “whole grain” on the package.

To store barley, keep it in a glass container in a cool, dry place. If your kitchen tends to get humid and hot during the summer, it is a good idea to store your barley in the fridge.

Before cooking, make sure to rinse the barley under the sink to remove any debris. The general rule for cooking barley is one part barley to three and a half parts of boiling water or low-sodium broth. After adding the barley, bring back to a boil, turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 90 minutes.



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