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What is Black Barley?

The Lalibela Terraces in Ethiopia

Black barley (Hodeum Vulgare) is a variety of barley.

Originating in Ethiopia (but now also grown in the USA) black barley is the only grain that can go from field to fork without being processed. Why? Because the bran layer stays attached to the kernel and is completely edible – and delicious.

With its bran intact, black barley retains its firm, plump texture during cooking, making it perfect in soups, stuffings and stews. It’s also great when mixed with other grains due its somewhat chewy, contrasting texture.

A bit of history...

As a key crop in the Indian harvest, black barley dates back centuries.

This grain has been described as hearty, earthy and wholesome – perfect for nostalgic dishes. It’s shape is said to resemble a coffee bean and its black and white speckled surface takes on a glossy mahogany colour when cooked.

How healthy is black barley?

Unlike pearl barley (which has been hulled, steamed and polished) black barley remains intact, so it’s high in wholegrain nutrition and packed with such as vitamins B & E, calcium, iron and potassium. It is also a very good source of fibre.

Our Black Barley products

Recipes that use Black Barley