What are Barley Flakes?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Barley is a type of cereal grain, similar to rice or wheat. The plant it is harvested from is a member of the same plant family as grass. Barley flakes are a product that results after freshly harvested barley grains have their hard, outer shells removed, a process known as hulling. Once each grain piece is hulled, it is then flattened and cut into thin slices. Since the hull is removed, the flakes may not have as much nutritional value as if the outer shells were left completely or partially intact.

The appearance of barley flakes is similar to commercial oats, with a small and round look. The taste of barley flakes is generally considered to be a slightly nut-like flavor. Although the flakes are not technically a whole grain since they have been hulled, they may still share some of the nutrients of other whole cereal grains.


Supporters of the product believe it has a wide variety of potential health benefits, due to the fiber it contains. Fiber is a substance that mostly occurs in plant that is difficult for the body to completely digest. Eating foods that contain fiber, such as barley, is thought to help ensure regular and bulky bowel movements. Promoters of fiber also believe it can absorb some of the cholesterol in the body and prevent unhealthy levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Although it has not been conclusively proven, supporters of the health benefits of barley flakes claim that consuming regular amounts of the product has been shown to help prevent breast cancer, diabetes, and childhood asthma.

Barley flakes can be purchased commercially packaged or in bulk out of containers. After they are purchased, it is generally recommended to keep them stored in an airtight container in a cool place. If moisture comes into contact with the flakes, it can cause them to spoil.

Since the product is harvested from a plant, it can hold onto dirt and other debris. Prior to preparing and consuming the flakes, it is recommended to thoroughly rinse them off in cool, running water to ensure they are clean. Once they are cleaned, they can be boiled in hot liquid, such as water or broth, until they are softened. The cooking time can vary, but it is typically around one hour to 90 minutes.

Barley flakes can be eaten alone or mixed with other ingredients. The freshly cooked barley can be served in a bowl with milk and served as a hot cereal, similar to oatmeal or porridge. It can also be used in place of pasta or other starches in dishes like stews or soups.


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Post 3

Barley is one of the oldest types of grain out there but unfortunately, we don't eat enough of it. This is a highly nutritious grain with a low glycemic index. So it's best for children and those with diabetes as it doesn't raise blood sugar levels quickly. It also provides a lot of energy so I recommend barley flakes as breakfast to everyone.

Even if one doesn't like porridge, barley flakes can always be used to make cookies. I'm sure it would make a great substitute for oatmeal in oatmeal cookies. There is also barley cereal at some organic stores for those who don't want to use the flakes.

Post 2

@discographer-- I personally cook it a little bit. I don't do it on stovetop, microwaving the flakes with some milk is enough. I cook it in the microwave for about a minute. I also add dried blueberries, some cinnamon and honey. You can also add nuts and fruits. It tastes great, very delicious. Sometimes I have it as a meal. It's a great food to have if you're ill or have stomach flu. It's very comforting for the stomach and keeps me full for a long time.

Post 1

My neighbor is moving and left me a box of groceries that she couldn't take with her. There is a bag of barley flakes and I have no idea what to do with it. Can I eat it like instant oats with cold milk or do I have to cook it like porridge? Any ideas on how best to consume this?

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