Barley was one of the first crops cultivated by man, and has been used as a food since Biblical times. Today, barley is still considered an excellent source of soluble fiber. With a higher beta-glucan content than oats, barley can be effective in lowering serum cholesterol levels. Barley also contains fiber, protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins. It's low in fat and has no cholesterol. Although pearled barley is commonly used in soups, barley can be milled into various fractions, producing different cuts, pearls, flours, grits and flakes.
Because of its neutral flavor, it's easy to blend barley's nutrition and texture into a variety of foods. May be baked in casseroles, used as stuffing, or pureed for cereal or pudding with maple syrup, cinnamon and dates.