Pearl barley is distinguished by a mild, light, buttery taste, which can be supplemented with various spices, vegetables, meat or fruits. Due to the unique feature that allows you to experiment with taste and texture, they have returned to many cuisines. In addition, it is advisable to include them in the diet of the diet for those suffering from diseases of the stomach or intestines.
Doctor nutritionist Edita Gavelienė says that pearl barley is often forgotten undeservedly, because it is not only tasty, saturated, but also very nutritious: “They are rich in minerals – potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. These minerals help lower blood pressure. And the iron, phosphorus, manganese and zinc contained in groats help maintain bone strength and play an important role in the production of collagen. Selenium protects the body from inflammation, and B vitamins and slowly “relaxing” carbohydrates reduce the glycemic index of groats, which makes them suitable for consumption by people with diabetes mellitus.”
Pearl barley is proposed by E. Gavelienė to be included in the diet also for children and those suffering from various diseases of the stomach, intestines, as they contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which regulates bowel movement, supports the microbiota, strengthens the immune system and improves intestinal health: “This product is also great for patients with heart disease, because the combination of fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants becomes an ally of a healthy heart diet, and high levels of beta glucan are responsible for balancing cholesterol levels.”
True, despite all the beneficial properties of pearl barley, the doctor notes that they should be avoided by persons with celiac disease. “Since these groats contain gluten, people who need to pay attention to the gluten content in products should not consume pearl groats. For everyone else, these groats can be eaten every day or at least several times a week,” advises E. Gavelienė.
Mushrooms – a source of vitamins of group B
According to the doctor-nutritionist, we can call mushrooms a source of vitamins of group B, vitamin E, iron, copper, potassium, zinc, folic acid are also found in them. Because of these nutrients, it is advisable to eat them to those who refuse products of animal origin.
“Mushrooms are very low in fat and rich in substances beneficial to health, such as fiber and trace elements. In addition, mushrooms are aromatic, so they give food a specific smell. It also stimulates the release of digestive juices, preparing the digestive system to work. Even the minerals, trace elements and proteins contained in heat-treated mushrooms are largely preserved. So if mushrooms are used in the preparation of porridges, sauces or soups, nutrients move to these dishes,” recalls E. Gavelienė.
Before boiling it is advisable to wash off
Pearl barley is mainly purchased by boiling soups or porridges. They can also be prepared as a side dish, added to soups, stews, garnished with tomatoes, butter and various spices – thus diversifying the taste of groats.
You will recognize quality pearl barley from the yellowish-white color – they should not contain any impurities. Pearl barley will best retain freshness if stored at home in sealed jars or bags away from direct sunlight and stove. This will protect against moisture and air ingress. If moisture has accumulated in the package where the groats are stored, then immediately such should be discarded.
Like other cereals, pearl barley should first be washed with water to remove dirt. And if you leave to soak in cold water for several hours, you will reduce the time of their preparation: “Roll the soaked grits in a saucepan and cover with a lid so that as little steam as possible comes out, boil in water, and after boiling, season with a pinch of salt. Unsealed pearl barley is best cooked on a fairly strong heat until it boils, then for about another 40 minutes – after reducing the heat. Cooked groats are best stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator – for 3-5 days, and in the freezer – for about a month.
Baked pearl barley with mushrooms
You will need: 2 cloves of garlic, 225 g of mushrooms (champignons are possible), 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of pearl barley – pearl barley, 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley (optional).
Preheat the oven to a temperature of 180 degrees. Chop the garlic and cut the champignons into slices.
Put garlic, mushrooms and butter in a pan. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender.
Then add pearl barley, vegetable broth, thyme and freshly crushed pepper to the pan. Stir, cover with a lid and place in the oven. Bake for an hour.
Then stir. Taste it and adjust the amount of salt or pepper to your taste. Before serving, you can sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Delicious!