Pearl Barley - how do you use it?

That’s the one I used!

Really and it didn’t work for you?! I’m so disappointed for you. I really enjoy the brand. I even toast the farro and use it in fried “rice” stirfrys.

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Maybe I just got a bad bag. I did check the use by date, and it wasn’t the problem. I eventually tossed the remaining cup or so, but I will try again.

I don’t presoak. More times than not I cook in broth not plain water but once at the boil, I simmer 50 mins. Turn off heat and steam 10 mins. Uncover, let it come to room temp then portion.

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Your experience makes me wonder about heat history. Like if a shipment was stuck in an unrefrigerated truck and left to bake in the summer sun for a few days, before finally getting to the store.

I used dried black beans as a pie dough weight a few times, and just dumped them in a ZipLoc baggie and tossed back into my dried beans bin for the next time I need pie weights. I didn’t mark the bag or anything (it is now marked) and one week while I was traveling a daughter tried to use them in a soup. Even cooked for hours they were still not tender.


@Rooster , are you cooking like pasta, with extra water, or like rice with the water cooked away before steaming? I did try steaming some that had cooked untill I was hopeful that I had cooked enough, but seemed too “dente” the next day, but it was still not like I like it.

I am eating it in salads, if that matters, and adding a bit of dressing after letting it cool a bit in a flat pan.

wonder about heat history.

That could happen in my garage! ( I didn’t keep it there).

As it happens, I toasted the first batch, and thought that was why it wouldn’t soften, and in fact, some of it stayed opaque and small after cooking, but another batch I soaked without toasting had some grains that remained small and opaque, rather than soft and translucent.

I would still recommend farro as a wonderful alternative to rice.

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Yes. And more water. 1 cup to 3.5 liquid for my rice cooker method. I cant really comment on the time except it is longer, as the rice cooker decides all that. I bow to our electronic overlords. Between appliances and cats… :rofl:


Like pasta would be too watery. Also why I don’t soak.
I follow the deets on the farro’s website. Which reads:

On stovetop, add 1 cup Emmer to 4 cups of water or stock with a pinch of salt. Boil on high for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes until berries are plump and chewy. Drain excess liquid. Serve hot or cold.
Emmer can also be cooked in a rice cooker on the brown rice setting.
One cup makes 3-4 servings.

ETA: I wind up with 1/2 cup of broth which I keep and drink.


Many thanks.

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By “like pasta” I meant draining excess water after cooking, rather than starting with a certain amount that is expected to be absorbed, like many cook rice.

Maybe I’ll try skipping the soaking.

Ah., I hope I’m some help on this. I don’t recommend soaking. I think it throws off the actual boiling/cooking process. When I boil water for pasta the ratio of water is much higher and the swell of al dente pasta leaves a lot of water behind (that I use in my garden fwiw once room temp) but with farro I am left with about a 1/2 cup of broth (which I repurpose).

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Agree on all points.

I too think of pearl barley as a winter thing. I can’t do an oxtail soup without it.

The grain holds up well to simmering, leaving a little tooth that I enjoy.


I have a baggie of dried beans labeled “PIE BEANS” - had to explain that to my non-baker mom… “you’re putting those beans in a pie???” :joy:


These are the bullets that they can’t sell for cooking. Sow’s ear.

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Sprouted grains are interesting and sometimes have quite “interesting” flavors. I use them sometimes but tend to be a bit careful how dominant they might be in a dish

Yes, they tend to take longer. Pressure cookers can be quite helpful for them (whole grains in general)


That sounds you got a really old bag. Sometimes you can “save” them by using a pressure cooker


I’ve enjoyed a pearl barley orzotto (risotto with barley) that contained sweet potato, squash or pumpkin. The first time I tried it, it was a vegetarian main at Gordon Ramsay restaurant in London, England. I’ve made similar orzottos at home since then.

It could be used in mushroom barley soup or Scotch Broth (also soup)


Do you have a rice cooker perhaps?

Use a 3:1 ratio (water to farro) and then hit “cook” or “start” or whatever button your rice cooker has to make it start cooking.

When the rice cooker finishes its cooking, open lid, fluff with a spoon and then let it sit covered in the rice cooker for about another 15 minutes, and you should be ready to eat.

No need to soak, just a quick rinse to get the dust off (yes, you really should) and any basic rice cooker works, you don’t even need the fancy “fuzzy” logic of Zojirushi.

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I love beef and barley soup, or the chicken one someone recommended above.

In the cookbook Jerusalem, there’s a tomatoey barley risotto topped with herbed feta that I really like, along with a parsley and barley salad that’s like a tabbouleh with a different grain.

I often use pot barley and just cook longer.