If we were to do a little experiment and ask ten people what they would use barley for, eight of them would answer us to make beer and two to make whiskey. We have forgotten for a long time that barley it’s not just the main ingredient of a few of alcoholic beverages favorites of the population.
On barley we must know that it is an annual grass with a sweet taste, flexible and long spikes, which admits sowing both in autumn and in spring. It is native to western Asia and Northeast Africa. It is the four most important cereal in the world together with wheat, corn and rice. It adapts itself to less fertile land, to different heights and to different humidity conditions, so cultivated almost all over the world, except in tropical, semi-tropical and humid zones. Today the largest world producers are Russia and Canada.
Uses of barley in gastronomy
Today is very rare to find it in bread, although it is still used to make some preparations and thanks to the fact that a type of diet is becoming popular, healthier and more natural, a bag of peeled grain is beginning to be found, which can be used like wheat to make soups, stews, such as substitute for pasta, in salad and sautéed with vegetables. It is also used to make breakfast cereals. The coffee substitute that is made with sprouted, roasted and mixed with malt barley grains is well known throughout the world.
But of course the most popular use of this cereal is the milkshake manufacturing and obtaining musts, which in certain countries are consumed by pregnant women and nursing mothers, and which are the basis for making beer, syrups and vinegars. If it is distilled, whiskeys and gins are obtained.
Curiosities about barley
- About 12,000 ago, man began to consume the first loaves and these were barley.
- It is believed that the bread of the miracle of the loaves and fishes it was barley.
- Plato and Pythagoras recommended that their students eat barley bread and drink barley water, as it was good for promote the ability to think, to concentrate and attend the teachings.
- Hippocrates and Galen recommended barley water to cure all acute diseases.
- In Chinese medicine it is considered the ideal cereal for spring and liver cleansing cures.
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