Monday, February 21, 2011

Hulled Barley, Pearl Barley, Soup Recipes

Like how I grew up eating white rice, I was also more familiar with pearl barley in a barley drink anytime, when I was younger.

Pearl Barley

For the past one year, white grain has been "out" of my pantry as I made my choice on brown rice to be the rice staple. Ever since I tried, love and accepted other grains/seeds such as quinoa and millet, I have also gradually used (and eaten) less and less rice as I have so many other choices! (I still have my steamed white rice when I dine out, or even when I need to cook with white rice for the characteristic texture and taste, I buy them from the bulk section at Whole Foods Market - buy the quantity I need - no wastage!)

Hulled Barley

It is only recent that I tried hulled barley. The fact is, I don't cook with barley as often as I should have. So it took me a while to experiment with barley and discover the better barley - Hulled Barley.

To Soak or Not to Soak ? 
Pearl barley vs Hulled barley, analogous to White Rice vs Brown Rice. One has most of the nutrients stripped while the other maintains its good nutrition due to minimal processing when the grain is harvested. Different from pearl barley which you can use without prior soaking, hulled barley cooks faster and better after it is soaked. The recommendation is to soak them overnight. But fact is, what happens when you decided not to use it the next day?

Storage Tips
Yes. It happened to me. No matter how well you plan, a plan is still a plan. What if someone calls you out for a meal the next day and you decided you are not cooking? Or jolly well, you decided you will not be cooking anyway? Or change of menu plan? You don't continue soaking them. Rinse away the water and store them in the fridge (should be good up to 2 days). Before using, just give it a light rinse again.

Flex it into your regular Soup Recipes
My first dish that comes with the incorporation of hulled barley? Into my chicken soup. Barley is high in dietary fiber and selenium, so you can really make a nutrient-dense soup if you wish, by incorporating some barley. Even not to chicken soup, I find that in a flexible menu plan, you can add them fact... any soups. It adds an uniquely earthy and subtly sweet taste to the soup. Extra heartiness too!

These brown hulled barley are also in for

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