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Beneficial barley.

Adding fiber to your diet? Cereal grains such as wheat, oats, and barley are among the best fiber sources, but these wholesome grains are not created equal. Wheat offers insoluble cellulose fiber, good for preventing diseases of the digestive tract; oats have soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Barley, however, offers both: studies show barley added to the diet reduces blood cholesterol levels and helps protect against colon cancer. The starch from some barleys also shows promise for regulating glucose metabolism in diabetics.

So, where has this fantastic grain been all our lives? For centuries, barley was the staple food for much of the world. Barley was the "daily bread" of the Bible and the fuel for the Roman legions. Gladiators ate barley for strength and stamina (and were called hordearii, from the Latin word for barley, hordeum). Over the centuries, rye and wheat replaced barley During the last hundred years or so barley was relegated mainly to soups animal feed, and beer making, but now barley is coming back. Some nutrition researchers predict that barley will be "the cereal grain of the '90s.'

Barley contains beta-glucan, the same cholesterol-lowering fiber found in oat bran. It also has tocotrienol, an oil that lowers serum cholesterol level: In studies in the United States and Australia, people who substituted barley for other grains in their diet were able to reduce their cholesterol levels significantly in four months or less. Barley reduced LDL (bad cholesterol) without affecting the good HDL cholesterol.

Drs. Walter and Rosemary Newman, nutrition researchers at Montat State University at Bozeman, say barley is more versatile than oats and equal to or better than oat bran for lowering cholesterol. It also taste good. Subjects in a test of muffins made with 100 percent barley flour found the barley muffins more moist and flavorful than wheat bran muffins. Barley's one drawback is a lack of gluten. Barley does not work well in yeast bread. Dr. Rosemary Newman recommends adding no more than 25 percent barley flour when making yeast bread.

The most common or popular barley is covered barley, used for malting and animal feed. For human consumption, the hull of covered barley is removed by abrasion or pearling, producing the familiar pearl barley. Although pearl barley is high in soluble fiber, the pearling process removes essential amino acids and vitamins concentrated in outer layers. A new waxy-hull-less barley developed at Montana State University does not require pearling, and thus is considerably more nutritious. Hull-less barley is now being added to some high-fiber, multi-grain breakfast cereals. You can't buy hull-less barley in grocery stores yet, but it is available in wholegrain, flour, grits and flakes from: Western Trails, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Bozeman, MT 59771-0460.

The following barley recipes were tested in the Post's kitchens. Try them, and you'll agree it's time to return this nutritious grain to the dinner table.

 Chicken and Barley Bake
 (Makes 6 servings)

1 teaspoon margarine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, minced (1 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
 (2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup minced celery (1 large stalk)
2 sweet peppers (2 green or 2 red
 or 1 of each), minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 28-ounce can low-salt tomatoes,
 drained and chopped
1 cup barley, rinsed
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 chicken legs and thighs, skinned
 and separated

Heat 1 teaspoon margarine and 1 teaspoon of oil in large, heavy saucepan (3-quart size). Add onion, garlic, celery, and peppers, and cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, over moderate heat for about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring mixture to boil, and continue boiling and stirring until nearly all liquid has evaporated.

Add tomatoes, barley, broth, and pepper. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, cover pan, and cook mixture, stirring a few times, for 25 minutes. There should still be plenty of liquid in pot. Transfer the mixture to 3-or 4-quart covered casserole dish.

While barley is cooking, brown chicken on both sides in large skillet in remaining 2 teaspoons of oil.

Transfer chicken pieces to casserole and bake at 350 deg. F for one hour.
 Per Serving (leg + thigh + 1 1/2 cup mixture):
Calories: 403 Carbohydrate: 39.4 gm
Cholesterol: 81 mg Protein: 29.7 gm
Sodium: 189 mg Fat: 12.6 gm
Diabetic exchange: 2 bread + 2 vegetable +
2 1/2 medium-fat meat

 Barley with Mushrooms
 and Spinach
 (Makes 6 servings)
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
2 cups cooked barley
2 green onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup fresh chopped spinach

Mince mushrooms and combine in large bowl with barley, green onions, garlic, and chives. In separate bowl, combine thyme, oil, and vinegar. Add to barley mixture and fold in spinach. Cooked spinach or kale may be used if warm product is desired.
Per Serving (2/3 cup):
Calories: 96 Carbohydrate: 15.9 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg Protein: 1.7 gm
Sodium: 10 mg Fat: 2.7 gm
Diabetic exchange: 1 bread + 1/2 fat

 Creamy Vegetable Barley Soup
 (Makes 6 servings)

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, minced
2 tablespoons garlic butter flavoring
1/2 cup dried barley
5 cups low-salt chicken broth,
 homemade, or combine 5 cups
 water and 5-6 teaspoons low-salt
 chicken bouillon
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons light coffee whitenor

Rinse barley and combine with vegetables, garlic butter flavoring. and low-salt chicken broth. Cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Combine skim milk and coffee whiteher and whisk until well blended. Just before serving, stir into barley soup and serve.
Per Serving (1- 1 1/4 cup):
Calories: 124 Carbohydrate: 23.5 gm
Cholesterol: 1 mg Protein: 4.6 gm
Sodium: 173 mg Fat: 1.2 gm
Diabetic exchange: 1 1/2 bread + trace fat

 Bean Soup with Barley
 (Makes 7-8 servings)

1 cup lentils
1/2 cup split peas
1/2 cup dried navy beans
1/2 cup dried barley
1/2 cup brown rice
2 quarts low-salt beef broth, home
- made, or use 2 quarts water and 8
 teaspoons low-sodium beef bouillon
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon low-salt vegetable,
 all-purpose seasoning

Wash lentils, peas, beans, barley, and rice. Place in large soup pot with lowsalt beef broth. Add garlic and onions. Bring to boil and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours or until beans are tender. Add liquid if beans are absorbing too much.

When beans are tender, add the black pepper and chili powder. Cook 15 minutes longer. Serve.
Per Serving (1 - 1 1/4 cup):
Calories: 297 Carbohydrate: 54.8 gm
Cholesterol: 2 mg Protein: 15.0 gm
Sodium: 125 mg Fat: 1.9 gm
Diabetic exchange: 31/2 bread + 1 vegetable
+ trace fat

 Black Bean and Barley Soup
 (Makes 8 servings)

1 cup dried black beans
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper or
 1/4 cup dried pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon fennel

Wash beans. Place in stockpot with 1 quart water and bring to rolling boil; reduce heat to medium and heat for 810 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least one hour.

Wash barley and heat in separate pot in 1 quart water to boiling. Cook 5 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and soak 1 hour.

After soaking, drain beans and combine them in stockpot with 1 quart water. Cook slowly with vegetables and seasonings until tender. Drain soak water from barley; add 1 quart water and cook in separate pot until barley is tender.

Remove about 1 cup beans and set aside. Mash or blenderize rest of bean soup. Drain cooked barley, reserving liquid. Combine blended soup, barley, cooked beans, and enough of barley cooking liquid to make 2 quarts (8 cups). Simmer until serving.
Per Serving (1 cup):
Calories: 184 Carbohydrate: 36.2 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg Protein: 8.2 gm
Sodium: 10 mg Fat: 0.7 gm
Diabetic exchange: 2 1/2 bread

 Turkey Barley Soup
 (Makes 6 servings)
1/2 cup dry barley
1 quart water + 4 teaspoons low-salt
 chicken bouillon or 1 quart home-
 made low-salt chicken stock
 8 ounces cooked, chopped turkey
1/2 cup diced carrots or carrot slices
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon mixed Italian spices

Wash barley and discard floating kernels. Combine barley and low-salt chicken broth. Bring to gentle boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook about one hour with spices; add chicken and vegetables and cook additional hour or until barley is done and vegetables are tender. Add water as needed so final product is about 1 1/2 quarts. May be made ahead and frozen for later use.

 Per Serving (1 cup):
 Calories: 135 Carbohydrate: 16.8 gm
 Cholesterol: 31 mg Protein: 13.7 gm
 Sodium: 58 mg Fat: 1.4 gm
 Diabetic exchange: 1 bread + 1 low-fat meat
COPYRIGHT 1993 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Kreiter, Ted
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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