We're very excited to be working with East Anglia Food Link and a small group of farmers to revive British production of naked barley, a remarkable crop. We hope to have small quantities for milling and for sale as a whole grain this autumn.
We now work with crops of varieties developed by Edward Dickin to produce a wide range of naked barley wholefood products - wholegrain, pearled, kibbled, flour, flakes and ferment.
William has been out and about looking at the various crops being grown for us this year. Yesterday he popped down to Essex to visit Peter Fairs (who also grows our quinoa) so see how the Naked Barley field trial was looking. And it looks amazing!
The grains of more usual barley have an indigestible husk (the outer parts of the barley flower) that can only be removed by polishing to produce pearl barley. This process removes a lot of the goodness from the grain.
In naked barley the husk is not stuck to the grain, making is less energy intensive to process for human consumption and nutritionally much more exciting too. For these reasons naked barley was a popular crop among Bronze and Iron Age farmers.
Today naked barley is rarely grown. Barley of all types has been almost entirely replaced by wheat as the main ingredient in bread and hulled barley is better for brewing, the main modern use for barley.
But barley, especially naked barley, is a fantastic crop! It requires half as much water per tonne as wheat and needs far less fertiliser. It's high in complex carbohydrates, especially beta-glucan - a soluble fibre that has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. Naked barley has a low glycaemic index (GI) and is high in flavanoids. Plus it tastes great and can be used as a rice substitute, as a flour in baking, or flaked in breakfast cereals.
Hodmedod is working with East Anglia Food Link and a group of organic and conventional farmers to revive this remarkable crop. We hope to have a few tonnes available for milling into flour and for sale as a whole grain this autumn.
Please do get in touch if you'd like to know more.
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