Barley is a nutritious whole grain, rich in fiber and nutrients like folic acid, calcium and niacin. Pearl barley, processed to speed cooking time, lacks a fibrous outer hull. However, it still provides generous amounts of fiber, which can help control cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
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Use pearl barley in place of rice in soups, stews or casseroles. Microwave the barley for a hearty breakfast or cool the cooked barley and add it to salads. Cooking pearl barley in the microwave is a speedy and convenient alternative to stove-top cooking.
Things You'll Need
8 cups water
3-quart microwave-safe dish
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, butter or margarine
1 cup pearl barley
Microwave-safe plastic wrap
Salt and pepper
- Measure 8 cups of water in a three-quart microwave-safe dish.
- Add vegetable oil, butter or margarine.
- Place the dish in your microwave and cook on high until the water boils — approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The time needed for water to boil depends on the strength of your microwave.
- Stir in pearl barley.
- Return the dish to the microwave.
- Heat the barley until the water returns to a boil — usually 1 to 4 minutes.
- Cover the dish with microwave-safe plastic wrap.
- Turn the microwave on low power and cook until the water is completely absorbed and the barley is tender. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, then fluff the pearl barley with a fork.
- Serve hot or use the cooked barley as directed in your recipe.
To enjoy cooked pearl barley for breakfast, add a splash of milk or cream along with honey or your favorite sweetener.