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Barley

Nutritional Information: This food is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Selenium and Manganese. Strengthening to the spleen-pancreas, barley regulates the stomach and can stimulate the appetite. It strengthens the intestines and blood and benefits the gallbladder and nerves. Barley is used for hepatitis and painful urination and it helps to reduce tumors. (the new whole foods encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood)  

Storage Information: Like all grains, store barley in a tightly covered glass container in a cool, dry place, up to one year. Barley can also be stored in the refrigerator during periods of warmer weather.

Food Fun Facts: Barley is a wheat free cereal grain but not gluten free. It is also the most acidic of grains. Barley is wonderfully versatile with a rich nut like flavor and an appealing chewy, pasta-like consistency, the result of its gluten content. Its appearance resembles wheat berries, although it is slightly lighter in color. Sprouted barley is naturally high in maltose, a sugar that serves as the basis for both malt syrup sweetener and when fermented, as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages. Barley can be found in the market in various different forms: Hulled barley Hulled barley (the outermost hull of the grain is all that gets removed in this form. While this makes for a chewier grain that requires more soaking and cooking, it also makes for a more nutritious food. Hulled barley is also sometimes called "dehulled barley," and it is the one form of barley what would be considered whole grain), Pearl barley (outer hull is polished off, lower in nutrients), Pot/scotch barley (in between hulled and pearl barley), Barley flakes, and Barley grits.

Basic Recipes:

Hulled Barley is that which is being offered in the CSA share. This form of Barley takes quite awhile to cook, upwards of one hour per cup in 3 to 4 cups of liquid. Pre-soaking for several hours is recommended, and the soaked barley may be cooked in the same soaking water.
  Add barley to your favorite stews and soups to give them extra heartiness and flavor. Barley can be combined with lentils and other legumes or in any combination of vegetables. Combine cooked barley and healthy sauteed mushrooms for a pilaf with an Eastern European twist.  

Other Recipes:

Mushrooms, Carrots and Barley~ CSA Member Michelle Macomber
1½ c. thinly sliced mushrooms
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
a few scallions or ½ a small onion, thinly sliced
¾ c. barley

Warm 2-3 T of butter or oil in a pan.  Add and fry above ingredients until all fat is absorbed
and barley is slightly browned.  Transfer to a baking dish.

2 c. stock
¼ c. raisins minutes
¼ t. ground ginger
pepper to taste
soy sauce to taste
thyme to taste
parsley to taste

Add the above to a baking dish and cook for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake until all liquid is gone and barley is fluffy.

Notes: I often add larger quantities of ingredients.  Accurate measurements are not too important, as long as you increase stock proportionately to barley.


Green Barley and Kale Gratin~ From CSA Member Cira Canelas
2/3 cup barley, rinsed
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 large bunch kale, about 1 ¼ pounds, stems entirely removed
2 TBsp. butter
3 TBsp. flour
1 ½ cups milk or basic vegetable stock
¼ Tsp. allspice
1/8 Tsp. grated nutmeg
½ cup grated gruyere or provolone (I use any cheese)

In a saucepan, add the barley to 1 quart boiling water with ½ Tsp. salt and simmer uncovered until tender about 30 min. Drain. While it’s cooking, cook the kale in a skillet of boiling salted water until tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain, then puree with ¼ cup of the cooking water until smooth.

Preheat oven 375F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, whisk the flour, then add the milk. Cook stirring constantly over medium heat, until thick. Season with allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Combine all the ingredients, check the seasoning, and then transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish or ramekins.  Bake until lightly browned on top, about 30 min. if you’ve used ramekins, run a knife around the edges, then unmold them by giving them a sharp rap on the counter. Present them browned side up.
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