What is it? Barley itself is a cereal grain - much like wheat. It is used in beer malts, animal feed and many distilled liquors. Pearled barley has been processed and lacks the surrounding hull and bran. Less processed barley, called dehulled barley, still contains the nutritious outer bran. But pearled barley cooks faster and has a softer texture.
What is it used for? Pearled barley is often used in soups and stews as a thickener or to add bulk. It can be used in place of potatoes, rice or other starches in salads or just as a side dish. Pearled barley usually cooks in 35-45 minutes.
Where can I buy it in Houston? This is from Phoenicia, located at 12141 Westheimer (just outside the Beltway). Check out the bulk section of grocery stores for both pearled and dehulled varieties.
Recipe: Meyer Lemon Risotto, Courtesy of 101 Cookbooks
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.