|Botanical Name:||Hordeum vulgare|
Barley is a cereal grain, having a mild, starchy flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Pearl barley, the most popular form used for cooking, has the outer hull removed and has been polished or “pearled”. Barley is a whole-grain food and its consumption offers several health benefits. It is a highly soluble fiber and can reduce blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Barley is also low in fat. Types of barley include hulled, hulless and pearled barley. When barley is hulled, the tough inedible outer layer is removed. Still considered minimally processed, the hulled barley is a whole grain. It comes in kernels, flakes, grits and flour. Hulless barley, also known as naked barley, still has the tough outer hull loosely attached.
Barley is an important rabi crop. For human consumption. Barley seeds are widely demanded in the Indian as well as foreign market as it is used in diet to meet the nutrient requirement. it is largely consumed by the poor classes either as flour for chapatimaking, pure or mixed with wheat or gram flour, or as parched grains to make sattu. In Bihar and West Bengal the poor as a staple food consume dehusked barley.
In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, mixed flour of barley, gram and wheat is used for making `missi roti'. However, almost 60 per cent of the total barley produced in India are consumed as cattle feed. Barley is also used in the manufacture of malt and beer, aryuvedic medicine, cocoa-malt drinks and baby foods. With the coming up of many new breweries, after the liberalized licensing policy, the share of barley in the production of malt for manufacture of beer is expected to rise.