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Preparation, uses, and tips

Add barley to vegetable soups for a hearty flavor and texture, or steam it in stock with chopped onions and carrots, and serve it as a side dish seasoned with garlic, curry, and cilantro. Barley can be soaked overnight to reduce cooking time.

Buying and storing tips

Find prepackaged barley in most natural foods and grocery stores; buy in bulk for maximum savings. Look for whole barley, not pearled barley, for higher nutrition value. Store barley in a cool, dry area in a sealed glass or plastic container, away from air, moisture, and sunlight, which can make the oils go rancid.


Whole barley, also called Scotch barley, has intact bran, which is the most nutritious part of the grain. Pearled barley has been steamed and polished, a process that removes bran and fiber; it looks like a small, white pearl. Hull-less barley is an heirloom grain with a denser, chewier texture than hulled or pearled barley. It is also available in grits, flake, or flour form.

Nutrition Highlights

Barley, 1 cup (180g) (pearled, cooked)
Calories: 193
Protein: 3.5g
Carbohydrate: 44.3g
Total Fat: 0.69g
Fiber: 5.9g
*Good source of: Iron (2.1mg), Selenium (13.5mcg), and Niacin (3.24mg)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

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