7 Habits of Weight Loss

Barley

Description.—Barley is stated by historians to be the oldest of all cultivated grains. It seems to have been the principal bread plant among the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. The Jews especially held the grain in high esteem, and sacred history usually uses it interchangeably with wheat, when speaking of the fruits of the Earth.

Among the early Greeks and Romans, barley was almost the only food of the common people and the soldiers.

The flour was made into gruel, after the following recipe: "Dry, near the fire or in the oven, twenty pounds of barley flour, then parch it. Add three pounds of linseed meal, half a pound of coriander seeds, two ounces of salt, and the water necessary."

If an especially delectable dish was desired, a little millet was also added to give the paste more "cohesion and delicacy."

It was also used whole as a food, in which case it was first parched, which is still the manner of preparing it in some parts of Palestine and many districts of India, also in the Canary Islands, where it is known as gofio. Of this custom a lady from Palestine writes: "The reapers, during barley harvest, take bunches of the half-ripe grain, and singe, or parch, it over a fire of thorns. The milk being still in the grain, it is very sweet, and is considered a delicacy."

In the time of Charles I, barley meal took the place of wheat almost entirely as the food of the common people in England. In some parts of Europe, India, and other Eastern countries, it is still largely consumed as the ordinary farinaceous food of the peasantry and soldiers. The early settlers of New England also largely used it for bread making. At the present day only a very insignificant quantity of barley is used for food purposes in this country, and most of this in the unground state.

It is less nutritious than wheat, and to many people is less agreeable in flavor. It is likewise somewhat inferior in point of digestibility. Its starch cells being less soluble, they offer more resistance to the gastric juice.

There are several distinct species of barley, but that most commonly cultivated is designated as two-rowed, or two-eared barley. In general structure, the barley grain resembles wheat and oats.

Simply deprived of its outer husk, the grain is termed Scotch milled or pot barley. Subjected still further to the process by which the fibrous outer coat of the grain is removed, it constitutes what is known as pearl barley. Pearl barley ground into flour is known as patent barley. Barley flour, owing to the fact that it contains so small a proportion of gluten, needs to be mixed with wheaten flour for bread-making purposes. When added in small quantity to whole-wheat bread, it has a tendency to keep the loaf moist, and is thought by some to improve the flavor.

The most general use made of this cereal as a food, is in the form of pearl, or Scotch, barley. When well boiled, barley requires about two hours for digestion.

General Suggestions for Cooking Barley.—The conditions requisite for cooking barley are essentially the same as for oatmeal. It is best cooked slowly. Four parts of water to one of grain will be needed for steaming or cooking in a double boiler, and from four to five hours' time will be required, unless the grain has been previously soaked for several hours, in which case three hours will do.

If the strong flavor of the grain is objected to, it may be soaked over night and cooked in fresh water. This method will, however, be a sacrifice of some of the nutriment contained in the grain. Barley thus soaked will require only three parts water to one of barley for cooking.


RECIPES.

Baked Barley.—Soak six tablespoonfuls of barley in cold water over night. In the morning, turn off the water, and put the barley in an earthen pudding dish, and pour three and one half pints of boiling water over it; add salt if desired, and bake in a moderately quick oven about two and one half hours, or till perfectly soft, and all the water is absorbed. When about half done, add four or five tablespoonfuls of sugar mixed with grated lemon peel. It may be eaten warm, but is very nice molded in cups and served cold with cream.

Pearl Barley with Raisins.—Carefully look over and wash a cupful of pearl barley. Cook in a double boiler in five cups of boiling water for four hours. Just before serving, add a cupful of raisins which have been prepared by pouring boiling water over them and allowing them to stand until swollen. Serve hot, with cream.

Pearl Barley with Lemon Sauce.—Pearl barley cooked in the same manner, but without the addition of the raisins, is excellent served with cream or with a lemon sauce.


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