Pearl barley (or "pearled barley") is barley processed to remove its hull and bran. Barley must have its fibrous outer hull removed before it can be eaten; pearl barley is taken a step further, polished to remove the bran layer.
Pearl barley is the most common form of barley for human consumption, probably because it cooks faster and is less chewy than other, less-processed forms of barley. This is in contrast to "hulled barley" or barley groats, which preserves the bran, or "pot barley" (also known as "Scotch barley"), in which the bran is not removed.
Pearl barley is similar to wheat in its caloric, protein, vitamin and mineral content, though it differs in that some varieties are high in lysine. It is cooked mainly in soups and stews, also as an ingredient for stuffing cooked potages or sweet dishes. It is the primary ingredient of the Italian dish orzotto.
- Barley from The Cook's Thesaurus (foodsubs.com)
- Barley basics, from the Montana State Government website of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee
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