Barley is a delicious grain with a mild nutty flavor. It that stores well long term and so it should be an important part of your food storage. Besides tasting good, it contains B vitamins, essential minerals and is an excellent source of fiber. Unlike other grains, which contain fiber only in the outer coating, barley has fiber throughout the entire grain. The soluble fiber in barley lowers blood cholesterol, making it heart-healthy. It slows the absorption of sugar, which is beneficial for diabetics. It also contains antioxidants, which helps prevent certain types of cancer.
What?!? You don’t already have barely in your food storage? Well, try these recipes and see if they don’t inspire you to cook more with this grain and convince you that you should add some barley to your food storage.
Southwestern Chicken or Turkey Barley Soup
6 C water
1⁄3 C pearl barley
1/2 C chopped onions or 2 Tbsp dried
2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 15-oz can corn, drained
1 4-oz can diced green chilies
1 Tbsp chili powder
1⁄2 tsp cumin powder
1⁄8 tsp garlic powder
1 can (10-12-oz) or 11⁄2 C leftover chicken or turkey chunks
In a large pot, heat water and add barley and dried onions. Bring to boil; simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 35 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, except chicken or turkey, and simmer 10 minutes until flavors are blended. Add meat and heat through.
Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 C chopped leeks or onions
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 C pearl barley
2 Tbsp black “buffalo” barley or wild rice (optional)
3 1⁄4 C chicken broth
1 1⁄2 C water
1⁄2 C dried mushrooms (rinse if necessary)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, plus more to pass at the table
Heat oil in a 4-quart or larger pressure cooker*. Add leeks and fennel and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until leeks are browned. Stir in barley and rice until lightly coated with oil. Stir in broth, water, mushrooms and salt.
Lock pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce
heat to maintain pressure and cook for 18 minutes. Remove lid when pressure is released.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set cooker over high heat and cook risotto,
stirring frequently, until barley is tender (but still chewy) and mixture has thickened to a
slightly soupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.
*A pressure cooker makes this a quick and easy recipe. If you do not have a pressure cooker, simply simmer in a regular saucepan for 40-50 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.