Growing Conditions

Canada is second, only to Russia in barley production with most going to feed cattle and supply the brewing industries.

Source: Jackson, A.H. Canadian Food Lover’s Guide, 2010, pp48

The Canadian Prairies are cool and dry and ideal for growing barley. To get to harvest, it takes a minimum of 3 months to grow from seed.


Barley's precise origins are unknown but it was cultivated in the Middle East, Far East, and Africa for thousands of years. It is now grown all over the world.

The term "Calgary Redeye" was given to beer mixed with tomato juice. (Source: Canadian Food Words by Bill Casselman p 233)

Ways To Cook

As mentioned, barley is mainly grown for the beer industry and for animal feed. As a culinary ingredient, pearl or pot barley can be boiled and used in soups and stews. It can be boiled and tossed with other grains for a medley. It can also be popped like popcorn!

Brown rice versus white rice, can be compared to pot barley vs pearl barley. Both white rice and pearl barley are polished with the bran removed. Consider that component when cooking. The bran intact requires extra water and longer time to cook.

Try substituting barley for other grains; simmer it in a rice cooker (use brown rice setting if applicable), or cook it risotto style and fold in sweated vegetables, grated cheese and cream.

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