1 Portfolio point = 2 cups cooked barley

What is Barley?

Barley is a type of viscous fibre grain that helps lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol). It has a unique nutty flavour and chewy texture.

There are three types of barley: (1) whole-grain barley, (2) pot barley, and (3) pearl barley. Whole grain barley contains most layers of the grain, pot barley has been slightly polished, and pearl barley has been mostly polished. All three types of barley are nutritious options, but pearl barley is the quickest to cook.

Buying and Storing Barley

Barley is a nutritious and low-cost grain that can be purchased in most grocery stores in the aisles with rice and dried beans. It is also available at most bulk food stores.

Uncooked barley should be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry area away from heat, moisture, and light. If properly stored, uncooked barley can stay in the cupboard for about 1 year. Cooked barley stored in an airtight container can stay in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for one month.

How to Prepare Barley

  • Stovetop: Add water and barley to a pot. Bring water to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer.
    • Cook time: whole grain barley (75-90 min), pot barley (60 min), pearl barley (30-40 min)
    • For every 1 cup of dried barley = 3 cups of water
    • 1/4 cup dry barley = 3/4 cup cooked barley
  • Microwave: Place 2 cups water for every 1 cup pearl barley in a bowl. Cover bowl and microwave on medium power until liquid is absorbed (~20 minutes). The time may need to be adjusted depending on your microwave.

Cooking Tips

  • Since barley soaks up a lot of liquid, add more water if needed while cooking.
  • Replacing some or all of the cooking water with low sodium vegetable stock is a great way to add more flavour to the barley!
  • Try cooking a large batch of barley to use it in various recipes. Extra barley can be stored in the freezer.
  • Barley can replace rice in most recipes.

Barley Recipe Ideas

To view Portfolio recipes with barley, click here.