42 Barley Facts For Kids To Learn About The Cereal Grain | Kidadl


42 Barley Facts For Kids To Learn About The Cereal Grain

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Do you ever wonder which crop was one of the earliest crops ever to be produced for human consumption?

If you thought that it must be barley, then you guessed it right! This ancient grain may not be as popular as other whole grains, yet this early maturing crop is grown globally.

Barley is an edible grain that you may find in bread, cereal, soup, and beer. It's also popular as animal feed. It is also known as 'Hordeum vulgare' in Latin.

Barley was among the earliest cereals domesticated by early people and can be grown in a broad range of temperatures and geographical places. It was first found around 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, yet even now, millions and millions of people all across the globe consume it. When consumed, it is chewy, and it has a nutty taste. This grain is incredibly healthy, easy to grow, and has a wide variety of uses and benefits. There is so much more to know about barley than you could ever imagine, so read on to learn more!

Facts About Barley

Have you ever come across a barley field or overseen the whole process of barley cultivation? Intriguing, isn't it? Feed your curiosity with the following fascinating facts about barley!

  • Barley is a self-pollinating species that comes from the grass family; it is technically just tall grass.
  • The typical height of barley ranges from 18 in (45.72 cm) to 54 in (137.16 cm).
  • Wild barley, the predecessor of domestic barley, used to be long in shape, but it morphed over time, and now, it appears to be spherical in shape.
  • Barley grain was one of the earliest grains of its kind to be grown for meals in the Fertile Crescent and around the Nile River in northeast Africa.
  • The ancient civilization consumed wild barley, as evidenced by the discovery of Ohalo Two in the Epipaleolithic period. Furthermore, the oldest evidence of farmed barley comes from modern-day Iraq's Jarmo area.
  • In the Ayurveda, barley is also called yava. It is the only grain mentioned in the ancient Indian writings.
  • There is evidence of barley usage in the Bronze Age Harappan civilization. As you may be aware, barley is high in nutrients and provides much-needed energy, so the gladiators of Ancient Greece ate barley as a special diet to gain the power necessary for battle.
  • Barley is a widely sown and used crop all over the world. This popular grain exists in the form of hulled barley, hulless barley, barley grits, barley flour, barley flakes, pearl barley, and quick pearl barley.
  • Primarily, the barley that grows in a field has a hardcover around the barley kernel, which makes it inedible. Therefore, it is paramount to remove the covering before eating.
  • Coverless barley rarely exists, but this doesn't mean that it grows without a hardcover. When the crop is growing, the cover is so loose and frail that it falls off during the harvesting.
  • Only hulled barley is considered to be whole grains. Barley grits from hulled or hulless barley, barley flakes from whole grain barley, and whole-grain barley flour are also whole grains. Pearled barley and quick pearled barley are not whole grains.
  • These forms of barley led to the classification of barley into four different species, namely Hordeum spontaneum is two-row barley with shattering spikes,  Hordeum distichon is two-row barley with nonshattering spikes, Hordeum vulgare is six-row barley with nonshattering spikes, and lastly, Hordeum agriocrithon is six-row barley with shattering spikes.
  • The European Union was the world's biggest producer of barley in 2019-2020; 156.41 million tons (156.41 billion kg) of barley were produced during that year. Barley output has increased since then to 159.74 million tons (159.74 billion kg) in 2020-2021.

Benefits Of Barley

Have you ever wondered why barley is so widely consumed throughout the world? Well, this versatile grain is not only easy to add to your diet, but it is rich in many essential nutrients, and it has so many health benefits as well!

  • A 3.52 oz (100 g) serving of cooked barley gives 123 kcal of energy! It contains not just vitamins, minerals, fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium, but also copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, lignans, magnesium, and niacin.
  • Can you believe that barley has around 17% fiber, which is one of the highest percentages that any whole cereal can have? The high fiber content in barley, both soluble and insoluble, has many health benefits.
  • The soluble fiber, beta-glucan, makes you feel full, effectively reducing the need for eating more. In the long run, this can help you in losing weight. It lowers your cholesterol level, by preventing cholesterol production and promoting feces excretion, and helping blood pressure, thus, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Soluble fiber and magnesium, a mineral that assists in the creation of insulin and the use of sugar in your body, may protect you against type two diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and boosting insulin production.
  • On the other hand, the insoluble fiber in barley reduces the chance of constipation by accelerating digestive movement, and it fosters a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which aids in reducing the symptoms of gut disorders by feeding the gut cells.
  • It cleans your gut and protects you against colon cancer. Additionally, it helps in preventing the formation of gallstones by making sure that the gallbladder functions properly. However, this does not have any medical evidence.

Just imagine how many nutrients and health benefits you can have by including a barley meal in your diet!

Barley can be used to make a variety of products.

Uses Of Barley

Barley, the first crop ever planted, is not only a simple and economical crop to raise, but it is also one of the most flexible grains and adaptable crops ever grown. It has so many uses, some of which you may not even know!

  • Barley can be used as a food source for living beings, in the production of malt, and also to protect top soil.
  • Due to its height, salt tolerance, and capacity to prevent saline seep, it is ideal for weed suppression and erosion management and may be utilized in coastal locations for this reason.
  • Barley is a great choice as a cover crop component if the fields are weedy, degraded, or overworked. It has the potential to promote nitrogen cycling and soil tilth.
  • Barley grown can be eaten after removing the outer hull only. This dehulled barley is a whole grain that is commonly used as livestock feed and animal feed.
  • In many parts all over the world, it is a vital feed grain for poultry, swine, sheep, and cattle. Before it is given to them, it is first ground using either a hammer mill or a rolling mill. Except in the case of sheep, who can have the barley whole.
  • Cultivated barley can also help in the further production of barley products, for instance, barley soup, flour, barley water, oatmeal, staple cereal, and many more, for human consumption. It can even assist in making special food.
  • In the traditional porridge of Scotland, one of the most basic and crucial components of the porridge is flour made from barley.
  • For generations, it has been used to produce gruel, a traditional form of porridge, across the Arab world and portions of the Middle East such as Israel, Persia, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Since the Iron Age, barley bread has been prepared from the grain.
  • In Saudi Arabia, soup made from barley is frequently consumed during Ramadan, and it is incorporated in cholent, a classic Jewish stew that is often eaten on the Sabbath.
  • This grain is one of the most important food crops in Africa, providing nutrition to underprivileged communities.
  • Barley grain has a long history of usage in alcoholic drinks. The same elements that make barley so nutritious are also extremely beneficial for fermentation. To make alcoholic drinks, fermentation of certain sugars is a must.
  • Traditionally, it was made by boiling the grain in water and then combining the barley water with white wine and other ingredients. Since almost the 18th century, this grain has been used in England, Ireland, and Scotland using traditional English brewing procedures.
  • In England, bags were made out of barley straw. In ponds or water gardens, the placement of barley was such that it would control the development of algae. This way, the plants and animals in the water body remain unharmed.
  • Can you imagine the use of barley to measure something? In ancient England, three barleycorns would constitute 1 in (2.54 cm). Barleycorn is a former English unit of measurement.

Best Conditions For Growing Barley

The most extensively grown whole grain, barley, is a low-cost and adaptable crop. It requires specific circumstances in order to grow.

  • There are several barley kinds to pick from, each of which grows in a unique environment.
  • It is grown as a summer crop in temperate areas and as a winter crop in tropical areas.
  • It needs rich, well-drained soil and grows best in loam or light clay with cold, dry winters.
  • It is, nevertheless, highly versatile and will do well in drought-prone or slightly alkaline soil that is not too heavy.
  • It thrives naturally in soil with a pH of five to seven, and this low-yielding crop will yield substantially more in excellent soil.
  • The soil should be examined for nutritional inadequacies and rectified appropriately. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sulfur, copper, manganese, and molybdenum should all be tested.
  • Depending on the scale of the production of barley, it can be planted by hand or using a broadcaster or the seeds can be scattered over a prepared seedbed.
  • You might even drill by hand or machine, sowing seeds 1.5 in (3.81 cm) to 2 in (5.08 cm) deep.
  • Lay the foundations in rows with 20-25 grains per 12 in (30.48 cm) if you only need a small quantity for things like brewing.
Written By
Bhavya Gupta

<p>With a degree in Economics from Sri Venkateswara College, affiliated with the University of Delhi, Bhavya is a proficient content writer who specializes in crafting content for companies operating in the marketing, growth, online media, and non-profit organization management industries. Drawing on her expertise, Bhavya is capable of crafting content that is both informative and engaging, helping businesses to connect with their target audience and drive growth.</p>

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