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How to Cook Barley

Barley is one of those things most people either love or hate.  Most of the time, when people hate it, it's because it wasn't cooked properly.  On this page, you'll learn how to make it so that it doesn't have that funky aftertaste some people hate about it.


  • 1/2 kg. pearl barley
  • water for soaking and cooking
  • 1 teaspoon gray salt if it will be eaten plain


  1. First of all, inspect your barley to make sure there are no stones or off color grains in it.
  2. Next, heat a large pan or pot on high heat.  Do not add any oil or anything.
  3. Pour in the barley grains, and stir them slowly until most of them are a little browned.  This is dry roasting.
  4. Remove the pan or pot from the heat, and shake it around until it cools a bit.
  5. Rinse the barley by filling the pot with water, stirring it, and then pouring the water off, 2 or 3 times.
  6. Refill the pot with water, cover it loosely, and put it on top of the refrigerator or some other place out of the way but not especially cold, to ferment overnight.
  7. The next day, pour off the water, and rinse the barley again once more.
  8. Fill the pot with water again, and put it on the stove on high heat.
  9. Cover it, and bring it to a boil.  Stir it occasionally to prevent it clumping.
  10. Once it's reached a good rolling boil, uncover it, and turn the heat down to medium.
  11. If it is still boiling too vigorously, turn the heat down lower until it is still boiling, but not splashing.
  12. Let it boil for 20 minutes to half an hour, before testing a grain or two for tenderness.
  13. If it needs more time, give it, but check every 10 minutes.
  14. Once it's done, pour the barley into a strainer, and shake off any excess water.
  15. If you'll be using it for a salad, rinse it.  If not, then it's ready to use in whatever recipe you're making, or eaten plain with a little salt.