Barley Field in Orkney

Barley Field in Orkney
Bere Barley Field in Orkney Islands

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ancient grains? Think barley!

     There is currently high interest in  "ancient grains".  Read the ingredient labels on most of those products.  Do they mention barley? Probably not, yet barley grains have been found in stored jars at archeological excavation sites as old as 20,000 years in the Middle East.
     Furthermore, barley has an historic reputation for providing strength and stamina.  The Latin botanical name for barley, Hordeum vulgare comes from the ancient Roman Gladiators called "Hordei", because they ate barley, as they believed barley foods increased their stamina in battle.

     So enjoy this most ancient of grains in these barley pancakes made with yogurt and yeast.


1 packet instant dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup barley flour
1/4 cup all-purpose wheat flour
2 tablespoons canola oil

 1.  In a small dish, dissolve yeast in water.  Stir in honey and let stand 5 minutes.
 2.  Beat eggs and yogurt together in a mixing bowl.  Add yeast mixture and flours, stir well.
     Cover  and place bowl in a warm place for 30 minutes. Batter should appear slightly bubbly.
 3.  Spread oil on a hot griddle.  Pour batter to form ppancakes. Cook until brown on both sidesly.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Oops! Correction!

Sorry - there was an error, regarding the barley beverage.  Linda O'Brien of Robarr informed me that their coffee substitute is not gluten free!  sorry about that!

Barley, along with wheat and rye, contains gluten.  In wheat, gluten is the protein that makes bread dough stretchy to provide air holes when the yeast produces gas.  It's what gives bread its texture.  That's why bread made with 100% barley doesn't work.  However, barley does contain some gluten. People with celiiac disease can't tolerate any gluten at all, so that's why this beverage should not be consumed by those individuals.   On the other hand, there are many individuals who choose gluten-free products, not because they are celiac, but because they believe it makes them feel better.   There is probably such a minute quantity of gluten in the barley beverage, such individuals would have no problem.

New barley beverage

Dear friends:

Are you looking for a satisfying caffeine-free beverage?  Try Robarr!  This new product is not only made from barley, but it's made in Montana!  How could anything be better!  dIt is natural, organic, and gluten-free.  Besides all that, it's delicious. 

Even if you still drink some coffee, consider Robarr as an alternative.  If your health provider has advised you to "cut down" on caffeine, Robarr is a perfect choice  For more information or how to order Robarr, contact the producers at

In other news from the barley world, there is a new barley cookbook from our Canadian neighbors in alberta, called "Go Barley".  I just ordered a copy through, and will write a review when I receive my copy.

Meantime, I'm still working on my our new book!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Winter is for Scones

This is a long, cold winter!  There have been so many snowy, windy, sub-zero days, when a hot cup of tea, coffee, or chocolate just needed a munchy on the side!  Here is a new recipe that's easy, good, and healthy.  Barley fruit scones can be varied with your favorite dried fruit.  This version has cranberries, prunes, and figs, because that is what I had on hand.  You can use any combination you like.  I was actually wishing for some apricots and cherries!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1       cup barley flakes
1/2    cup canola oil
1/4    cup brown sugar
1/4    cup granulated sugar
3       teaspoons baking powder
1/2    teaspoon salt
1       teaspoon cinnamon
3/4    cup diced dried fruit
3/4    cup powdered sugar
1       teaspoon vanilla
4       teaspoons milk

1. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, barley, salt and cinnamon.
2. Add oil and blend thoroughly.  Add fruit and stir until coated.
3. Add milk and blend together.
4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 times.
5.  Divide into four pieces.  Roll each piece into a circle and cut into six wedgs.
6. Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.
7. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.  Stir until a smooth consistency for the     glaze.  Brush the glaze over warm scones.

If you can't find barley flakes, try this source: 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to lower your blood cholesterol with barley

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled in 2005 that the beta-glucan, part of the fiber in barley, can reduce cholesterol when included in the diet.  Moreover, food producers can make this statement on the label of food made from barley.  The FDA specified that at least 3 grams of beta-glucan must be included in the daily diet.

This information may be a bit boggling to consumers because food labels do not state the quantity of beta-glucan in the product.  In addition,m, it is not easy for the average consumer to calculate grams of anything, when we measure in cups and tablespoons.  Hopefully, the following information will be helpful.

First of all, to achieve maximum benefit from barley, you should start with a high-beta-glucan barley.  This would be waxy and/or hulless barley.  One source of this type of barley is Western Trails Foods in Glendive, Montana  ( or 406-377-4284).  The  best product is flaked hulless barley, which has twice the beta-glucan as oats or common barley.

I have recommended this method to many individuals whom I have counseled over the past twenty years, and for myself as well.  If you follow a reasonably healthy diet that is low in fat from all sources, you have a good likelihood of lowering high cholesterol.  This method is considering the barley as a therapeutic product, not a food as such.  This method is quick and easy, and does not require cooking, baking, or addition of flour, shortening or other high calorie ingredients.

Place the barley flakes in a food processor  (a blender will do).  Process for two or three minutes until the barley has the appearance of cornmeal.  I usually process about a pound, and store it iin a closed jar.  One dose is about 2 tablespoons of the processed barley, which you can mix with either applesauce, yogurt, or juice, enough to obtain a consistency you can swallow easily.  I recommend that the barley be taken twice daily, prior to your two largest meals.   This will place the beta-glucan in your digestive tract before food enters.  Then, when you eat, the beta-glucan will be there to do its work.  Less fat and dietary cholesterol will be absorbed, and the liver will be stimulated to take more cholesterol out of your blood for its own use.  Many people have reported that they get full quicker, eat less, and end up losing weight!

I still encourage including barley in meals, and will continue sending out recipes!
Don't hesitate to ask questions~!   Best wishes, Rosemary

Monday, January 13, 2014

Barley versus Oats

     Receently, we saw a small magazine artcle entiitled  "5 Ways to Use Oats".  We thought  "We know 5 ways to use barley, too!"

     Actually, they are both great grains with similar composition.  The reason we say "Barley is Better" is because barley has more of the characteristic fiber ingredient, beta-glucan  than oats.  The beta-glucan is part of the soluble fiber in both grains,  and is responsible for helping to control blood cholesterol.  It is also responsible for the low glycemic index rating of both barley and oats.  The beta-glucan in oats is concentrated in the  oat bran whereas it is found throughout the barley kernel.  Some types of barley known as hulless  (hull-less) and waxy barley, contain greater concentrations of beta-glucans than non-waxy barley or oats.  The term "waxy" has nothing to do with wax but rather the type of starch. More about these varieties in a future posting.

       Meantime, consider two readily available products from Quaker Oates; Rolled Oats and Quick Barley.  Both have about the same concentration of beta-glucan, but are mainly used for different dishes.  Rolled oats are best know for oatmeal, a hot cereal, or for putting into cookies.  Barley can also be rolled as with oats and there are various sources available.  Quick Barley is a  form of pearl barley that is often used in soups.  However we have another use for the Quaker Quick Barley and that is blending half and half with rice which  literally contains no soluble fiber.  Quick Barley and rice take about the same amount of time to cook and the mixture is tasty and provides a good source of soluble fiber.   

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recipe for Butternut, Bean and Barley Stew


          1  medium butternut squash
          1   medium onion, chop0ped
          6 cloves garlic, minced
          2 stalks celery, sliced
          4 green onions, cliced
         3 tablespoons canola oil
          8 ounces of spicy sausage, sliced or crumbled
          4 cups beef broth
          1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with chilis
          1 teaspoon black pepper
          1 teaspoon thyme
          1/2 cup pearled barley
         1 12-ounce can pinto or Great Northern beans
           10 ounces frozen green beans
          chopped parsley
          salt to taste

          1.  Prepare butternut squash:  cut in half, remove seeds, place halves on a flat pan, place in 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Cool, peel, and dice into 3/4" chunks.Set aside.
          2.  Place onion, garlic, celery, green onion, sausage  and oil in a large pot.  Using moderate heat, saute for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
          3.  Add beef broth, tomatoes, pepper, thyme ad barley to pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
          4.  Add squash, canned and frozen beans to pot.  Return stew to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until green beans are tender.  Add pars;ey and salt to taste, if desired.

          Serve stew with crusty bread or rolls.  Enjoy on a cold winter night!
           Note:  I used chorizo  sausage, but any sausage will do.  Stew can also be made vegetarian.
 See our next post for a photo of this dish!  Best wishes, Rosemary