Pearl Barley
Barley Flour
Barley Flakes
Barley Grits
Barley Malt
Whole Grain Barley
Covered Barley

Pearl Barley

Pearl barley refers to covered barley that has been processed to remove the tough inedible outer hull and then pearled or polished.  Barley may be pearled to varying degrees and labeled as regular, medium, fine or baby pearl.  Pearl barley may also be called blocked, pot or scotch barley.  Pearl barley is available in several forms; however, kernels or berries (pictured at right) are the most common.  But pearl barley may also be purchased flaked, cut (grits) and ground (meal or flour).

Where it's found
Pearl barley is typically available in a kernel or berry form and may be purchased in most supermarkets.  It is usually found next to dry beans, lentils and rice.  Pearl barley may also be found in bulk containers in the natural foods sections of supermarkets as well as in health and specialty food stores.

How it's used
Pearl barley (in the kernel form) is a versatile ingredient that lends itself to many recipes.  It may be cooked and served as a side dish similar to rice or couscous.  It may also be used as an ingredient to add healthful fiber, chewy texture and nutty flavor to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, pilafs and fillings.

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Barley Flour

Barley flour may be made from pearl or whole grain (hulled or hulless) barley.

Where it's found
Although in more limited supply, barley flour may be found in some supermarkets with other packaged flour products or in bulk containers.  Barley flour may also be sold in some health and specialty food stores.  It may also be purchased directly from small grain suppliers and processors via mail-order catalogs and online stores.

How it's used
Barley flour may be used to add fiber to baked goods. One-half cup of barley flour contains 7 grams of total dietary fiber. In comparison, ½ cup of white all-purpose enriched wheat flour contains just 2 grams of total dietary fiber.
*Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 13 (November 1999)

Barley flour contains gluten, the protein that helps baked goods rise. However, it’s important to note that the type of gluten in barley flour does not promote adequate rising on its own. It’s best to use barley flour in combination with wheat flour for baking. Barley flour may also be used as a thickener for soups, stews and gravies.

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Barley Flakes

Barley flakes are made from pearled or whole grain barley kernels that have been steam-rolled and dried.

Where they're found
Although in more limited supply, barley flakes may be found in some supermarkets as well as in health and specialty food stores.  They be may be displayed next to ready-to-eat or cooked cereals or in bulk containers.  Barley flakes may also be purchased directly from small grain suppliers and processors via mail-order catalogs and online stores.

How they're used
Barley flakes may be cooked like rolled oats for hot cereal.  They may also be used as an ingredient in baked goods such as breads, muffins or cookies.

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Barley Grits

Barley grits are made from pearled or whole grain barley kernels that have been cut into small pieces.

Where they're found
Although in more limited supply, barley grits may be found in some supermarkets or health food stores in the ready-to-eat and cooked cereal aisle or in bulk containers.  Barley grits may also be purchased directly from small grain suppliers or processors via mail-order catalogs and online stores.

How they're used
Barley grits may be used as a hot cereal or as an ingredient in recipes. Barley grits are also used in commercial food applications.

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Barley Malt

Barley malt is made by soaking and drying barley kernels.  The kernels are then allowed to germinate or sprout in a controlled environment.

How it's used
Barley malt is an important ingredient for beer production.  It is also used in extracts and syrups for adding flavor, color or sweetness to commercially prepared foods such as cereals, baked goods, confections and beverages.

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Whole Grain Barley

Whole grain barley refers to barley that has been minimally processed or cleaned so that most of the bran and endosperm is left intact and the germ is present.  Whole grain barley may also be called hulled or hulless barley.
Hulled barley refers to covered barley that has been minimally processed to remove only the tough inedible outer hull.  Hulled barley may be purchased in several forms including kernels (berries), cut (grits), flaked or ground (meal or flour). 
Hulless barley refers to a type of barley in which the tough inedible outer hull is loosely adhered to the kernel.  The outer hull is so loose, that when this barley is harvested in the field, the outer hull usually falls off.  Processors often refer to this type of barley as “naked” barley.  Hulless barley requires little to no processing to remove the tough inedible outer hull.  Because this product requires minimal cleaning, most of the brand and endosperm is left intact and the germ is present.

How it's used
Whole grain barley is available in several forms such as kernels (berries) as well as flaked, cut or ground into flour.  Whole grain barley may be used like its pearled counterparts.  Cooked whole grain barley kernels tend to impart a more chewy texture and a more robust flavor than pearl barley.  Whole grain barley kernels typically require a longer cooking time than pearl barley.

Where it's found
Whole grain barley is currently in more limited supply.  It may be found in some supermarkets as well as in some health and specialty food stores.  Whole grain barley may also be purchased directly from small grain suppliers and processors via mail-order catalogs or online stores.

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Covered Barley

This refers to barley kernels with the tough inedible outer hull still attached.  This covering must be removed before the barley is used for human consumption.  If the kernels are minimally processed to remove only the inedible outer hull, the resulting product is whole grain.  If the kernels are further processed (pearled or polished), the resulting product is called pearl barley and is not considered whole grain.

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