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Food Storage Essentials: What about storing barley?

Published: Friday, May 4 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Barley is a uniquely delicious addition to food storage.

Leslie Probert

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There is nothing to compare with the nutty flavor and chewy texture of barley in soups, salads and even for breakfast.

According to the National Barley Foods Council, this delicious grain contains important B vitamins, essential minerals and is an excellent source of fiber, having fiber throughout the entire grain, unlike other grains that contain fiber only in the outer coating. Barley also contains antioxidants. The soluble fiber in barley lowers blood cholesterol, making barley heart-healthy. It slows the absorption of sugar, which is beneficial for diabetics, and it reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Insoluble fiber in barley provides roughage, which aids in digestion.

Unfortunately, people with a gluten allergy cannot eat barley as it contains gluten. For the rest of us, it is a nice way to add a little change to the usual list of grains to store.

One of the most common forms of barley is pearl barley, which has some of the outer coating removed. While it is not considered a whole grain, it retains a significant amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy diet. In fact, pearl barley surprisingly contains nearly double the amount of fiber as brown long-grain rice.

Pearl barley can be found next to the rice at the grocery store and packaged for long-term storage at food storage supply stores. Other forms of barley can generally be found at health food stores, however these are not usually packaged for long-term storage.

Pearl barley cooks in 45 minutes, whether simmering in water or a soup. The cooking time can be reduced to 20-25 minutes if barley is presoaked for four hours or overnight.

If you are not familiar with barley, why not buy a small package at the grocery store to try it? Including a little barley in food storage adds some pleasant variety in the dishes you can make.

Here are interesting and delicious barley recipes made with only stored foods, making them a great option, not only for everyday meals, but also for emergencies.

Barley Oatmeal Porridge

½ cup pearl barley

1 cup regular oats

3¾ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

Soak barley overnight in 2 cups water; drain. In a saucepan, bring water and salt to boil; stir in barley and oats. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25 minutes. Serve with brown sugar and milk.

― “Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition,” Leslie Probert and Lisa Harkness

Southwestern Chicken or Turkey Barley Soup

6 cups water

⅓ cup pearl barley

2 tablespoons dried onions

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cumin powder

⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

1 (10-12-ounce) can chicken or turkey chunks

In a pot, heat water while adding next three ingredients. Bring to boil; simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 35 minutes. (For presoaked barley, cook 15 minutes.) Add rest of ingredients, except chicken or turkey, and simmer 10 minutes until flavors are blended. Add meat and heat through. Serves 6-8.

― “Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition,” Leslie Probert and Lisa Harkness

Chicken, Corn and Barley Salad

1½ cups water

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon

½ cup uncooked barley

1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained

1 (10- or 12-ounce) can chicken chunks, drained and broken up

2 teaspoons dried onions*

2 teaspoons dried parsley

Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons bottled lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon hot sauce

In a saucepan, bring water and chicken bouillon to boil; add barley and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. (For presoaked barley, cook 20-25 minutes.) Cool. In a bowl, combine barley and rest of salad ingredients. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss and serve. Serves 4-5.

*Dried onions are added to salads in place of green onions. For best flavor, they are not hydrated, and they add a little crunch.

Leslie Probert, a graduate in home economics from Brigham Young University, has been a speaker and is co-author of "Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition" with more than 400 fast recipes. EMAIL: foodstoragechick@gmail.com

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