Barley is one of the world’s earliest cultivated grains, appearing in traditional diets across the globe.
Barley, however, remains an important food crop in developing regions and places where other cereal grains cannot grow. With the climate changing and the importance of sustainability becoming more and clearer, barley’s resilience as a crop along with it is the host of health beneﬁts as a foodstuﬀ makes it is an important example of a nutritious, dynamic crop that can thrive in less than ‘ideal’ conditions.
There are two groups of cultivated barley — two-row barley and six-row barley. Barley grains have an indigestible thick outer hull which must be very carefully removed to avoid losing some of the grain’s bran layer. Because of this, it is common for barley to be pearled or semi-pearled, meaning all or some of the bran has been polished off. To avoid this diﬃculty in processing, hulls varieties of barley have been bred to have hulls that are so loosely attached that they generally fall on during harvesting. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.