A member of the grass family that serves as a major animal fodder, as a base
malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various
health foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various
cultures. Like wheat and rye, barley contains gluten which makes it an
unsuitable grain for consumption by those with celiac disease.
Barley is a widely adaptable crop. It is currently popular in temperate areas
where it is grown as a summer crop and tropical areas where it is sown as a
winter crop. Its germination time is anywhere from 1 to 3 days. Barley likes to
grow under cool conditions but is not particularly winter hardy. Barley is more
tolerant of soil salinity than wheat. Barley has a short growing season and is
also relatively drought tolerant.
• As Algicide: Barley straw is placed in mesh bags and floated in fish ponds or
water gardens to help reduce algal growth without harming pond plants and
• As Animal Feed
• As an ingredient for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage: A large part of the
remainder is used for malting, for which barley is the best suited grain. It is
a key ingredient in beer and whisky production. Non-alcoholic drinks such as
barley water and barley tea have been made by boiling barley in water.
• As Food: Barley contains eight essential amino acids. Eating whole grain
barley can regulate blood sugar (i.e. reduce blood glucose response to a meal)
for up to 10 hours after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain
wheat, which has a similar glycemic index. The effect was attributed to colonic
fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates. Barley can also be used as a coffee
Raw barley Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)