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Harness the Power of Grains With Barley
Date:9/12/2007

SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking for an easy way to power up fall and winter meals with the goodness of grains? Think barley! This centuries-old favorite is a smart choice when it comes to good eating and good health.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070912/NYFNSX04)

The National Barley Foods Council reminds consumers that barley suits all kinds of culinary tastes and styles. An economical ingredient with a nutty flavor and pleasant chewy texture, this wholesome grain has found its way to the starring role in sweet and savory dishes such as sides, salads and entrees. Visit http://www.barleyfoods.org for more serving ideas.

Barley's nutritional attributes are just as impressive as its culinary characteristics. The grain is low in total fat, saturated fat and sodium. It's also cholesterol-free and a good source for several vitamins and minerals. When it comes to fiber content, barley is a hands-down winner. It's an excellent source of dietary fiber, containing both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Eating barley as part of a healthy diet helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Clinical studies conducted at the USDA Agricultural Research Services Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, MD confirm that eating whole grain barley or dry milled (processed) barley products that provide at least 3 grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber per day is effective in lowering total and LDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Studies also show that eating barley may help maintain blood sugar levels which may be beneficial in preventing or managing type 2 diabetes. As a fiber-rich food, barley may also promote a feeling of fullness and protect against obesity.

Unlike some other grains, barley contains fiber throughout the entire kernel and not just in the outer bran layer. So both processed products, such as pearl barley, as well as whole grain barley (also called hulled and hulless barley) contain significant amounts of fiber and offer important health-promoting benefits.

Pearl barley is readily available in most supermarkets and may be found next to dry beans, lentils and rice. Whole grain barley may be found in the bulk foods sections of some supermarkets and in some specialty or health food stores. Whole grain barley may also be purchased from mail order catalogs or online from grain processors and suppliers.

For more information, visit http://www.barleyfoods.org.

Curried Barley with Walnuts, Cherries and Apricots

Fiber-rich barley is combined with toasted walnuts and dried fruits for this sumptuous side dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 cup pearl barley or whole grain barley*

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2-1/4 cups chicken broth (increase to 3 cups if using whole grain barley)

1/2 cup dried cherries

2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup snipped dried apricots

In 2-quart pan with cover, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saut 3 minutes. Stir in barley, curry powder, salt and pepper; saute 3 more minutes. Blend in broth; bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer; cover and cook 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. (If using whole grain barley, it may be necessary to pour off extra liquid that has not been absorbed after 45 minutes of cooking time.) Add cherries; cover and let stand for 5 minutes to allow any remaining moisture to absorb and cherries to plump. Stir in walnuts and apricots. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: calories 240, protein 5g, carbohydrates 37g, fiber 7g, fat 9g, cholesterol 0, sodium 438mg.

* Whole grain barley kernels are minimally processed to remove only the

inedible outer hull. Whole grain barley tends to absorb less liquid

during the cooking process and produces a chewier end result.


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SOURCE National Barley Foods Council
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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