Have you ever wondered where in a grocery store you should go to find barley? It may not be as obvious as locating some other grains, but trust me, it is available.
The trick is to know where to look and how to identify it quickly—contemplating a shopping trip specifically for barley?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here is your guide to finding barley in a grocery store.
Barley tends to be found in grocery stores within the same aisle that stocks other grains, flour, and cereals. It could be located in the check-out aisle, but usually, it is an aisle specifically designated for unrefined grains.
You’ll see plenty of rice, wheat, quinoa, oats, and other grain varieties – barley will likely fall into the mix, often in the center of the aisle.
Understandably, if you are new to barley, you may need help to identify it. Barley is box-shaped with pointed edges, and this shape can be detected even when barley is mixed in a bin with other grains. Color-wise, barley is light tan in appearance and slightly opaque.
When shopping, it is advisable to pay attention to the prices. Are you getting a good deal or not? Bargain shoppers should make sure to compare prices at different stores.
If shopping for organic barley, you may want to consider perusing what specialty health food stores might have to offer. Unrefined or organic barley is generally higher in quality and free from chemicals and pesticides.
Alternatively, you may opt to purchase barley online. If you know what type of barley you are after, check out sites like Amazon.com to compare prices and delivery options. A great advantage to shopping online is a larger variety is typically available at your fingertips.
Whatever shopping option you decide to pursue, the good news is that locating barley in the grocery store is simple.
Shopping for barley is a breeze if you know what to look for and where to find it. With this helpful guide, you’re well on your way to successfully procuring some of the grain.
Types of Barley
When it comes to barley, there are several different types to choose from. Hulled barley is the most nutrient-dense barley of all – the hull is intact, and this bestows a longer shelf life, meaning it can stay fresh for up to a year when stored correctly.
Conversely, if you want barley to cook it up in soups and stews, pot barley or pearl barley is best. Pearl barley is hulled and lightly polished, creating pearls. It cooks quickly and is a lightweight fast-food alternative.
Barley flakes are also a great option for those cooking hearty meals. If you are into making wholesome breakfast bowls or smoothies, you can’t go wrong with barley flakes.
That being said, if you have a favorite kind of barley, make sure to check the ingredients list of any product before purchase. You’ll want to be sure your intended barley is the primary ingredient.
Organic barley is an option as well. This type of barley is not sprayed with chemicals or pesticides but may require extra preparation prior to cooking.
If you are looking to cook with true organic barley that is untreated, this is the best option to go for.
Depending on your preference, you can opt for the organic form of any of the other types of barley.
Health Benefits of Barley
As with other grains, barley imparts plenty of health benefits. While one serving may not seem sufficient to provide numerous health benefits, barley represents an exceptional source of dietary fiber and proteins.
Additionally, barley offers a relatively low glycemic index, making it a great candidate for diabetics. Barley has anti-inflammatory properties and may even play a role in protecting against cancer.
Moreover, barley is one of the best sources of selenium, which serves as an antioxidant and helps guard against systemic infection.
As a source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, barley helps keep the digestive system running optimally. It can block the absorption of bad cholesterol and fats in the gut.
Finally, barley is packed with other nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and vitamin B3. So, besides reducing cholesterol and promoting healthy digestion, barley has cardiovascular and metabolic benefits due to its nutrient-dense composition.
Uses of Barley
Barley has multiple uses depending on the form you procure and the type of cooking.
Hulled barley is typically used as a side dish in place of other grains or in salads for added texture. For breakfast, boiling or slow-cooking hulled barley makes a nourishing hot cereal.
Pearl barley is an excellent option for soups since it retains its shape and does not turn into mush.
Meanwhile, barley flakes can be added to smoothies, homemade granola, and oatmeal, either cooked or used in cold breakfast options.
All in all, barley can be cooked hot or cold, as a cereal or as a side dish, in soups or salads.
Interested in experimenting in the kitchen but still trying to figure out how to get started?
Look into recipes and watch instructional cooking videos! It can also be a fun family endeavor to explore recipes that work with barley. Have fun with it!
Nutritional Value of Barley
Barley is exceptionally nutritious. A mere cup of uncooked hulled barley comprises 700 calories, 20 g of dietary fiber, and 24 g of protein.
This hearty grain is packed with nutrition and is high in essential minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B, Manganese, Phosphorus, Iron, Selenium, Copper, and Magnesium.
Eating a bowl of barley also aids in producing Melatonin – a hormone necessary for its anti-aging and antioxidant properties.
Since unprocessed barley is a whole grain, it provides a slow release of energy and won’t lead to an energy crash later.
Additionally, those looking to optimize health or lose weight may find barley to be helpful in that regard.
Barley helps to regulate blood sugar levels and provides 1/3 of the recommended daily amount of fiber.
If you’re shopping for barley in the store or online, get ready to reap the nutritional rewards of this culinary super grain!
Storage of Barley
Once you’ve procured the barley of choice, it’s time to design a plan to store it. Representing a dry good, storing barley is straightforward.
The general rule of thumb is to store barley in a cool and dry place. Prying eyes should also be considered when storing an ingredient like barley.
To ensure an adequate seal is in place, store the barley in an airtight container or bag. The Kitchen pantry is a great option for storage of this type of grain.
Be mindful to check for pests when opening a barley container, as bugs can make their way into the grain supply.
If this transpires, discarding the barley immediately and securing a new supply is best. Ensuring a cool, dry, and securely sealed environment should nip the bug problem in the bud.
If stored properly, barley can last for up to a year on the shelf. However, it is always best to opt for freshly purchased grain whenever possible.
Best before or expiration dates should be heeded in order to get the maximum benefits out of the grain.
Barley for Cooking
Now that you’ve got the where and how to buy basics out of the way let’s move on to how to cook barley. As previously stated, the type of barley you purchase will dictate the cooking style you should use.
Additionally, the length of time will vary depending on the type. Hulled barley takes the longest to cook, whereas pearl and pot barley are slightly faster.
Before cooking the barley, make sure to take the time to clean it thoroughly. Remove any small stones that may have made their way into the supply.
To ensure maximum absorption of liquid, soak the grain overnight. Finally, season with salt or pepper for an extra flavorful kick.
Additionally, the type of pot used will influence the texture of the cooked barley. Pressure cookers, for example, are a great way to produce tender and fluffy barley.
It can also be cooked in a saucepan. The main goal is that all of the liquid is absorbed and the grain is tender when cooked.
Barley is a nutrient-dense super grain and a great addition to any diet. Now that you know where to find barley in the grocery store, what types are available, the health benefits, and how to cook it, you have all the tools to make a wise and informed purchase.
Have a creative time in the kitchen whipping up an array of mouthwatering and nutrient-dense meals all powered by barley!