>What is the difference between barley & perled barley? I can only find
>perled barley at my local grocery stores, and now I'm wondering if they do
>something to barley like what is done to make white rice.
Yes, they do. On the other hand, in its natural state it has a
nigh-inedible double outer husk which is called a "spikelet" (a name that
gives you an idea of its texture). A compromise between pearl barley and
eating spikelets is something variously known as hulled barley, scotch
barley, or barley groats. This is millled like pearl barley but only 1/3
much, so it's lost its spikelet but retained the bran layer where the most
of the fiber, vitamins & minerals hang out. It takes white a bit of cooking
and chewing, but tasted pretty good. I buy it whenever I can find it.
If the pearled kind is all I can find, I'm happy with it. I only had the
unhusked kind once, and it was pretty awful. There's apparently a special
"hull-less" variety whose outer hull is softer & comes off easily -- I
think I had this once and found it irritatingy hull-y. The semi-pearled
kind is seems like the best compromise to me -- talk to your local NFS
about carrying it.
Info from personal experience and a cool newish book called the _Whole
Foods Companion_ by Dianne Onstad, which I find to be an excellent
reference. It's biggish, dark blue with colorful drawings of fruits &
veggies on it, published in 1996 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company, ISBN
0-930031-83-0. It has a detailed nutritional info table for each
ingredient, with 20+ nutrients, from calories protein fat & fiber thru the
various vitamins and minerals. It also has history, buying tips, culinary
uses, & health benefits for each food -- and it has all kinds of obscure
ingredients as well as the common ones. No recipies, just lots of info. Big
fun for food geeks!