Barley is a food grain, that is highly valued for its health benefits. It has a very soluble fiber content, and is believed to be beneficial for those with high levels of blood sugar and cholesterol. It is also beneficial for digestive health. Barley is available in different forms, like hulled, hull-less, pearl barley, flakes, flour, and grits. In the hulled version, only the tough outer cover is removed. Hull-less barley has traces of the hull attached to the grains. Pearl barley is the polished version, with the hull removed completely. Even quick-cooking varieties of barley are available in the market.
Apart from being used in a wide range of food items, like breads, cakes, soups, and stews; barley is also an important animal fodder. It is also used in the manufacturing of distilled beverages. While barley water is widely used in Britain, barley tea is one of the popular beverages in some Asian countries.
Barley Tea Recipe
This tea is prepared with barley grains, either plain or roasted. It is widely used in countries, like Japan, China, and Korea. It is called mugicha in Japan, boricha in Korea, and dàmàichá in China. While some people prefer tea made of plain barley grains, the most popular version is the roasted barley tea.
In order to prepare the roasted version, all you have to do is to roast barley, till the grains turn brown. Such roasting can be done either on a stove top, or in the oven. In case of stove-top roasting, all you need to do is to take a skillet, and roast the grains till they turn brown. If you prefer oven roasting, preheat the machine to 350°F, and cook barley for around 10 to 15 minutes, or till the grains get roasted properly. In this case, spread the grains on a baking tray, for getting it evenly roasted. Once the grains are roasted, you can prepare barley tea. Boil a liter of water, and add three tablespoons of roasted barley grains into it. Let it simmer for a few minutes, before removing from heat. Once removed from the stove, let it cool for a few minutes.
This tea can be served both hot and cool. If you like hot variant, strain it and serve. Otherwise, strain the tea, and refrigerate for some time, before use. You may also add honey or agave nectar for sweetening barley tea. Caffeine is not detected in this tea, and this is one of its advantages. You may also use plain barley grains for brewing tea, but it may not taste similar to mugicha. Nowadays, barley tea can be prepared with tea bags, which can be purchased from Asian food stores. If you are using tea bags, a single tea bag will be sufficient for a liter of water. Even sun tea can be prepared with barley grains, by steeping these grains for a few hours, in water kept in sunlight.
It is believed that barley tea is good for cleansing the body. Some people use it for alleviating the symptoms of urinary tract infections. With its antioxidant properties, barley tea is good for fighting free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of diseases like cancer. It has been suggested that, barley tea, especially the roasted version, may prove beneficial for fighting oral streptococci. It is also said to be good for the cardiovascular system, as it improves the fluidity of blood. It may also help in reducing blood cholesterol, and in fighting cold. However, barley tea is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. Even those with gluten intolerance must avoid such barley preparations.
Barley tea is one of the best caffeine-free beverages that can be used as a substitute for coffee and tea. It is also observed that some people are averse to the flavor and taste of barley tea. So, prepare it in small amounts, and taste it beforehand. You may also use sweeteners and other additives to make it more palatable.