Interesting Barley Facts:
• Barley is one of the oldest food crops, contains gluten and is one of the four cereal grains found throughout Europe.
• Wild barley was used by nomadic tribes as early as 40,000BC and has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years.
• In the Sumerian civilization it was used as currency and was received as payment for a day’s work.
• Barley is adaptable to a variety of climates and has a high resistance to hot, dry temperatures.
• Flavourwise, Barley has a distinctive sweet and earthy taste. Mixes well 50/50 with wheat flour in bread and muffins.
• Whole Barley is intact, but hard to digest, Hulled Barley has the outer indigestible layer removed, while Pearl Barley has been polished with all the hull and the outer two layers (and nutrition) removed.
• Demeter is the goddess of agriculture, known as the ‘Barley Mother’.
• Barley bread is the bread used in the miraculous feeding of the multitudes by Jesus.
• The Roman Gladiators were known as ‘Barley Men’ and ate barley for their strength. The Chinese believe barley increases virility in men.
• Barley is related to the element of air and is high in silicic acid.
• Along with Rye it occupies a central balancing position between wheat and oats – building a bridge between the elements of earth and fire.
• Working as a balancer, in anthroposophic nutrition, barley has an effect on both the nervous system and the metabolic system. It stimulates active thinking and makes you alert, while also strengthening the ligaments and tendons and soothing irritations of the mucous membranes in the stomach and intestines.
Cooking with Barley:
• To boil pearl barley, 1 cup uncooked grain to 3 cups water. Boil 40 minutes. Whole barley is boiled for 1 hour if presoaked.
• Try as Barley Flakes for a good hot porridge, a salad of cold cooked barley with veges and a dressing, added to soups and stews, cooked with sauteed veges or barley water with lemon juice and honey.
Barley is the second grain of the seven we are looking at, with each grain relating to a different day of the week. When you add the seven grains to the diet, on their corresponding day, you provide the body with a balanced nutritional and energetic influence. This can help support health and harmony in daily life.
Annette Batchelor ND RM BT
Naturopathic Consultations in the Spirit of Anthroposophy, Victoria, Australia