Although barley is used to make beer, which can make you sick and weak, eating it in its grain form can make you big and strong! Consume both on a regular basis, I guess you kind of come out even, which is good for those of us just trying to get by. Just keep that barley outlook on life, guys.
For real, though, barley is high in iron, fiber and protein, low in fat and incredibly flavorful on its own. It’s nutty, chewy and just intriguing as far as I’m concerned. Look at those little guys. You feel like you’re doing your body a service by eating them. Unfortunately although barley’s unrelated to wheat, it does still contain gluten. Sorry gluten-free folks!
I first discovered barley by looking through the Bob’s Red Mill section of the supermarket, aka all those plastic bags of grains you might not have heard of. It’s available in this form at most major supermarkets, so don’t go on thinking you missed the barley train. As for preparing it, if you can boil water then you are more than qualified! Take that barley train all the way to healthy town. Let’s go!
Jen Cantin recently graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. with a degree in English and Journalism. She shares other (a)musings at Deep Fried Epiphany and dedicates this post to Ocean State Job Lot and the important work they do carrying a wide selection of Bob’s Red Mill and only the strangest and most interesting of bargain goods.
Savory-Sweet Barley with Tuna
Serves 2 as a light meal
There are two main types of barley: Hulled/hull-less barley has only had its outermost layer removed, so it takes about an hour to cook; pearl barley has had more layers removed so it only takes about 40 minutes. Most brands will recommend boiling one cup barley in 2 cups water. You can choose either variety for this recipe, as well as any other grain such as rice or couscous.
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar–available at most major supermarkets with other vinegars
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup barley cooked according to package instructions (1/2 cup dry will yield 1 cup cooked)
1 can tuna, drained and broken up into pieces
1 scallion, chopped (both white and green parts)
1/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
Mix rice wine vinegar and honey together with a fork in a small bowl until combined.
In a medium bowl, mix barley and honey-vinegar mixture, stirring to coat. Add salt to taste, and drizzle in more honey or vinegar if you like your barley sweeter or more tangy.
Mix in the tuna, most of the scallions, and the apricots, and stir to combine without breaking up the tuna into too many parts. Garnish with the remaining scallions.