This hardy grain dates back to the Stone Age and has been used throughout the eons in dishes ranging from cereals to breads to soups (such as the famous scotch broth). Most of the barley grown in the Western world is used either for animal fodder or, when malted, to make beer and whiskey. Hulled (also called whole-grain) barley has only the outer husk removed and is the most nutritious form of the grain. Scotch barley is husked and coarsely ground. Barley grits are hulled barley grains that have been cracked into medium-coarse pieces. Hulled and Scotch barley and barley grits are generally found in natural food stores. Pearl barley has also had the bran removed and has been steamed and polished. It comes in three sizescoarse, medium and fineand is good in soups and stews. When combined with water and lemon, pearl barley is used to make barley water, an old-fashioned restorative for invalids. Barley flour or barley meal is ground from pearl barley and must be combined with a gluten-containing flour for use in yeast breads.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
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