Suppression

Barley

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

 

Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain.

It is used for a wide range of things besides simple human food. 

It is used as animal fodder, as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages.  Barley grains are also made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation.  Barley straw has been placed in mesh bags and floated in fish ponds or water gardens to help reduce algal growth without harming pond plants and animals.

Barley is Europe's oldest cultivated cereal.  Pot barley or Scotch barley is dehulled, and its outer, inedible casing removed, but it still has its bran and germ, which makes it very nutritious.  Pearl barley is dehulled and then further processed to remove the bran. Although less nutritious, it can still be useful in the kitchen, adding a creamy richness to soups, stews and pilafs.

It is a part of some very traditional dishes -  Scotch broth and Irish stew, for example, but we have provided some recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal that show it is actually a very versatile grain.  He even recommends it being used as an alternative to arborio rice in creamy, risotto-style concoctions.

 

In a 2007 ranking of cereal crops in the world, barley was fourth both in terms of quantity produced (136 million tons) and in area of cultivation (566,000 square kilometres or 219,000 square miles).

Distribution

Archaeological evidence has revealed that barley (Hordeum vulgare) is one of the oldest crops used by ancient farmers, and it is hoped that studies of the time and place of barley domestication may help in understanding ancient human civilization. 

Remains of barley (Hordeum vulgare) grains found at archaeological sites in the Fertile Crescent indicate that about 10,000 years ago the crop was domesticated there from its wild relative Hordeum spontaneum. ….. The wild populations from Israel-Jordan are molecularly more similar than are any others to the cultivated gene pool. The results provide support for the hypothesis that the Israel-Jordan area is the region in which barley was brought into culture. In landraces from the Himalayas and India, the BKn-3 allele IIIa prevails, indicating that an allelic substitution has taken place during the migration of barley from the Near East to South Asia. Thus, the Himalayas can be considered a region of domesticated barley diversification.  PMID:  10742042

 

And

According to a widely accepted theory on barley domestication, wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) from the Fertile Crescent is the progenitor of all cultivated barley (H. vulgare ssp. vulgare). To determine whether barley has undergone one or more domestication events, barley accessions from three continents have been studied ….. A clear separation was found between Eritrean/Ethiopian barley and barley from West Asia and North Africa (WANA) as well as from Europe. The data from chloroplast DNA clearly indicate that the wild barley (H. vulgare ssp. spontaneum) as it is found today in the "Fertile Crescent" might not be the progenitor of the barley cultivated in Eritrea (and Ethiopia). Consequently, an independent domestication might have taken place at the Horn of Africa.  PMID:  17279366

Barley is now cultivated on a worldwide basis.

Barley arrived in Britain relatively late, about 500BC. Its name in Old English is bære, a clue to one of its main uses in the brewing of beer. It's described in the traditional English folksong John Barleycorn, which portrays the dramatic and violent life cycle of barley, from reaping to threshing and malting and turning it into beer and flour: "But a Miller used him worst of all, For he crush'd him between two stones."

Celiac disease

Barley is one of the three primary gluten-based grains. Therefore, in almost all cases, foods made with barley will contain the gluten protein, and people following a gluten-free diet will need to avoid it.   

 

Although barley does contain gluten, it is not enough to make the bread really rise.  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall describes loaves made exclusively from the flour as “tough and heavy”. Nevertheless, Roman gladiators were fed on barley bread, and were known as hordearii or barley men, from the cereal's Latin name hordeum vulgare. These days, barley flour is rarely used in isolation, but it does add a tasty, malty depth of flavour when used in combination with other, gluten-rich flours. The classic granary loaf is speckled with tangy flecks of malted barley.

Allergies

Some people are also allergic to barley. The effects can be anything from rash, to dermatitis or even anaphylaxis.   The exception appears to be barley syrup [malt syrup]:

It is not known whether trace amounts of proteins that may remain in cereal-starch-derived food ingredients even after food processing can trigger allergic symptoms in cereal-allergic individuals. The aim of this study was to find out if barley starch syrup causes allergic reactions in patients with allergy to wheat, barley, rye or oats. Fifteen children with allergy to these cereals, confirmed by double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC), were selected for the study. When exposed to cereals, seven of the children (47%) showed immediate type reactions, such as urticaria, rash or anaphylaxis. Eight of the children (53%) showed delayed type reactions, such as deterioration of atopic dermatitis or diarrhoea. The fifteen children with allergy to cereals were exposed to barley starch syrup in DBPCFC and none of them showed any objective signs of allergy. On skin-prick tests (SPT), five of the children (33.3%) showed a positive (>or= 3 mm) reaction to at least one of the cereals but none of them to barley starch syrup. This study confirmed with 98% confidence that at least 90% of the patients with verified allergy to cereals will not react with allergic symptoms to barley starch syrup.  PMID: 19117084

 

Barley malt syrup is an unrefined sweetener produced from sprouted i.e., malted barley, containing approximately 65 percent maltose, 30 percent complex carbohydrate, and 3% protein.

Interestingly it is not only the obvious products made from barley – biscuits, bread etc that can cause allergic reactions, beer can too:

Urticaria from beer is an IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reaction induced by a protein component of approximately 10 kDa deriving from barley. This allergen does not seem to be related to the major barley 16-kDa allergen responsible for baker's asthma. Because of the severity of the allergic manifestations to beer we recommend testing atopic patients positive to malt/barley and/or who exhibit urticarial reactions after drinking beer for their sensitivity to this beverage.  PMID:  10202351

There is also a condition known as ‘baker’s allergy’, which can be brought on by over exposure to flour:

Pearl barley soup with carrots and mushrooms

A 50-year-old man developed bronchial asthma both after exposure …. to feeding stuffs and cereal flours in his work environment and after ingestion of beverages made of these cereal grains……..
Allergy to storage mites (Lepidoglyphus destructor), house dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and farinae), and barley and corn flours were tested … Bronchial challenge tests with every allergen showed no response except for an immediate response to barley flour. The most relevant clinical feature was an immediate asthmatic response developed after oral provocation with either barley-made beer or barley flour itself which indicates IgE-mediated mechanism.  PMID: 7648375

Health benefits

In contrast to the rather gloomy picture painted above, those who are lucky enough to not have any intolerances or allergic reactions to barley are likely to benefit from a wealth of beneficial chemicals in barley.  The observations below provide research papers, but this paper – though it has no experiments to back it up, shows the potential.

 

Beer is one of the earliest human inventions and globally the most consumed alcoholic beverage in terms of volume.

In addition to water, the 'German Beer Purity Law', based on the Bavarian Beer Purity Law from 1516, allows only barley, hops, yeasts and water for beer brewing.

The extracts of these ingredients, especially the hops, contain an abundance of polyphenols such as kaempferol, quercetin, tyrosol, ferulic acid, xanthohumol/isoxanthohumol/8-prenylnaringenin, α-bitter acids like humulone and β-bitter acids like lupulone. 8-prenylnaringenin is the most potent phytoestrogen known to date. These compounds have been shown to possess various anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-angiogenic, anti-melanogenic, anti-osteoporotic and anti-carcinogenic effects.

 

Epidemiological studies on the association between beer drinking and skin disease are limited while direct evidence of beer compounds in clinical application is lacking. Potential uses of these substances in dermatology may include treatment of atopic eczema, contact dermatitis, pigmentary disorders, skin infections, skin ageing, skin cancers and photoprotections, ….. Further studies are needed to determine the bioavailability of these compounds and their possible beneficial health effects when taken by moderate beer consumption. PMID: 23802910

 

Method

Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall

sweetcorn and barley soup with carrot and tomato

When considering how to use barley in your kitchen, think about substituting it for rice or couscous in any of your favourite recipes.

Try it, cooked until tender, with chopped, toasted hazelnuts, lots of chopped parsley and/or mint and shredded, cooked leftover lamb or chicken, and a mustardy vinaigrette for a substantial salad – a portable deli/lunchbox version of the Scotch broth.

Stir it with fried mushrooms in a rich pilaf. Add pearl barley to a smoked ham and vegetable broth.
Or for something truly unexpected, but very simple and heartening, try the traditional Sephardi dish, belila, made by simmering pearl barley until tender and sweetening it with honey before stirring in rose- or orange-blossom water and chopped almonds and/or pistachios. Traditionally served to celebrate a child cutting its first tooth, it also makes a very good, warming breakfast, either on its own or with some thick yoghurt stirred into it.

Spiced lamb and pearl barley [Keskek]

3 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
80g butter
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
1kg neck of lamb or mutton, cut into pieces
2 bay leaves
150g pearl barley
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Warm oil and half the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat.
Add onions and a good pinch of salt, and sauté, stirring from time to time, until the onions are soft and golden. Put the onions into a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Warm oil in the pan in which you've cooked the onions.
Season the lamb and brown on all sides.
Pour over about 1.5 litres of water, add the bay leaves, bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, until tender.
Take out meat with slotted spoon. Bring remaining to a boil and add the pearl barley.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
While it's cooking, pick the meat from the lamb bones.
Add the meat to the barley and continue cooking until most of the stock has evaporated.
Add half of the fried onion, season well and stir.
Put remaining butter in a frying pan and re-fry the remaining onions until they are a deep, golden brown.
Tip the pearl barley and lamb on to a warmed plate and scatter the browned onions over the top.
Warm the remaining butter in the frying pan, add the cinnamon and fry very gently for a minute. Trickle the cinnamon butter over the dish and serve hot or warm.

 

 

Barley Water

1 cup organic Pearl Barley

5 cups water

Juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

1 tablespoon honey

Cinnamon stick

Root Ginger

 

Place the Pearl Barley in a sieve and rinse for a minute or so with plenty of fresh running water.
Put Barley, water, ginger and cinnamon in a pan that can easily accommodate the volume of barley water you are making. Switch the heat on.
Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes with the lid off. This will reduce the amount of water by about 1/3.
The grains should be softened and cooked.
Pour the barley water mixture through a sieve. Add the lemon juice (or other preferred fruit juice) and honey to taste, stir and leave to cool.
Drink it on the day of making when it is at its freshest.

 

The person who invented this recipe [an unknown Internet contributor] also says that the left over Barley should not be wasted and can be used for :

  • Bulking out and thickening soups and stews
  • Combining  with some chopped nuts, seeds, sultanas, raisins and other dried fruits for an alternative to muesli or porridge.This has natural sweeteners and is high in dietary fiber.
  • Salads to add another texture

Scotch broth with pearl barley and carrots - Angela Hartnett [Murano restaurant]

25g butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 small turnip, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
50g pearl barley
1½-2 litres of lamb stock
500g cooked shoulder of lamb, shredded
2 tbsp chopped parsley

 

Put the butter and all the vegetables in a pan and sweat for five minutes.

Add the pearl barley, cover with a litre of the lamb stock and cook on a medium heat for 25 minutes. Keep adding more stock as the barley absorbs it.

Once the barley has cooked, add the remaining stock until you have a nice consistency – you are aiming for a good, thick soup.

Add the shredded lamb and the parsley and bring to the boil. Serve the broth immediately with some nice, crusty bread.

 

 

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Barley pilaf with mushrooms and dill

40g butter
1 tsp olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
200g pearl barley
280g mixed mushrooms including porcini finely sliced
180ml white wine
600ml chicken, lamb or vegetable stock warmed
2-3 tbsp chopped dill
4-6 tbsp sour cream or crème fraîche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Warm half the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat,
Fry the onion until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.
Tip into a bowl and reserve.
Warm the remaining butter and oil in the frying pan over a high heat and sauté mushrooms until brown.
Add the pearl barley, onions and garlic, and give everything a good stir.
Pour in the white wine and stir. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, begin to add the hot stock by the generous ladleful, stirring and adding more liquid as the previous ladleful is absorbed
When the barley is tender (you may not need all of the liquid), adjust the seasoning, stir in the dill and serve with dollops of sour cream or crème fraîche over the top.

 

 

Nutrients

barley water

The full analysis of all the chemicals in the entire plant and the biological activities as analyses by Dr Duke, is provided as an observation, however, we have provided a list of chemicals in the seed, and this is shown below

List of chemicals in the seed

Chemical

Lo
ppm

Hi
ppm

(+)-CATECHIN

   

ABSCISIC-ACID

   

ALKYL RESORCINOL

   

ALPHA-KETO-GLUTARIC-ACID

   

ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL

3

11

ALUMINUM

 

7

AMMONIA

 

8130

ASH

9000

132000

BARWIN

 

6

BETA-CAROTENE

0

1

BETA-GLUCAN

   

BIOTIN

0.1

0.9

BORON

2

6

CALCIUM

160

4100

CARBOHYDRATES

608000

868000

CHLOROGENIC-ACID

   

CHOLINE

928

1617

CITRININ

   

COPPER

1

20

CYCLIC-AMP

   

CYSTINE

1000

2000

DIETHYL-AMINE

 

5.7

DIMETHYL-AMINE

 

1.6

ETHYL-AMINE

 

3.4

FAT

5000

55000

FERULIC-ACID

   

FIBER

5000

151000

FOLACIN

0

1.48

FOLIC-ACID

0

1.5

FRUCTOSE

   

GIBBERELLIN

   

GLUCODIFRUCTOSE

   

GLUCOSE

   

GLUTAMIC-ACID

32000

38000

GLUTEN

   

HORDEIN-B

   

HORDEUM-PROTEIN

3

80

HORDEUMIN

   

IRON

40

100

LINOLEIC-ACID

2185

24035

LINOLENIC-ACID

22

242

MAGNESIUM

100

2300

MALONIC-ACID

   

MALTOSE

   

MANGANESE

2

120

MELATONIN

   

METHIONINE

1000

4000

METHYL-AMINE

 

4.5

NH3

 

8130

NIACIN

17

115

O-HYDROXYCINNAMIC-ACID

   

OCHROTOXIN-A

   

OLEIC-ACID

1325

14575

OXALACETIC-ACID

   

P-HYDROXY-BENZOIC-ACID

   

PALMITIC-ACID

370

4070

PANTOTHENIC-ACID

2

12

PHOSPHORUS

1890

9200

PHYLLOQUINONE

 

0.07

PHYTATE

1640

10000

PHYTIC-ACID

5600

11500

PHYTIN

 

12000

PIPERIDINE

 

1

POLYSACCHARIDE

   

POTASSIUM

1600

9900

PROCYANIDIN-B-3

   

PRODELPHINIDIN-B-3

   

PRODELPHINIDIN-B-3-DIMER

   

PROPELARGONIDIN-DIMER

   

PROTEIN

82000

212000

PYRIDOXINE

0

11

PYRROLIDINE

 

0.9

RAFFINOSE

   

RIBOFLAVIN

1

9

SALICYLATES

 

0

SATIOMEM

   

SERINE

 

5000

SILICON-DIOXIDE

5000

9000

SPERMINE

   

STARCH

 

620000

STEARIC-ACID

130

1430

SULFUR

 

200

THIAMIN

1

10

TOCOPHEROLS

56

71

TRIGONELLINE

 

9

TRYPTOPHAN

1000

3000

TYROSINE

2000

6000

VALINE

6000

9000

VITAMIN-B-1

 

4.47

VITAMIN-B-2

 

1.28

WATER

6000

178000

ZINC

20

30

References and further reading

  • Mol Biol Evol. 2000 Apr;17(4):499-510.  On the origin and domestication history of Barley (Hordeum vulgare).  Badr A1, Müller K, Schäfer-Pregl R, El Rabey H, Effgen S, Ibrahim HH, Pozzi C, Rohde W, Salamini F.   1Faculty of Science, Botany Department, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.
  • BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Nov 9;15(1):506. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-1263-7.   Febrile seizures after 2009 influenza A (H1N1) vaccination and infection: a nationwide registry-based study.  Bakken IJ1, Aaberg KM2,3, Ghaderi S4, Gunnes N5, Trogstad L6, Magnus P7, Håberg SE8.  1Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Nydalen, PO Box 4404, Oslo, N-0403, Norway. inger.johanne.bakken@fhi.no.
  • J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014 Feb;28(2):142-50. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12204. Epub 2013 Jun 27.  Beer and beer compounds: physiological effects on skin health. Chen W1, Becker T2, Qian F2, Ring J1. 1Department of Dermatology and Allergy Biederstein, Technische Universität München, Christine Kühne Center for Allergy Research and Education (CK CARE), Munich, Germany.

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