Humanity today has been consuming Wheat as a food ingredient, probably more than anything else. Rice seems to be closest contender. Out of these two, Wheat is a more robust food than the Rice. Rice used as food is further downgraded by polishing its grains after de-hulling process when its most nutritious top layer is skinned away to provide the grains a shine. This skinned out material is used to prepare high-value foods and medicines. So, if you are a Rice eater, make sure that your grains are not polished by the Rice Millers. All commercially available Rice is polished, hence it is advised to get Paddy from the market and get it milled for removing its top-layer of hay only, keeping its top brownish skin intact.
Wheat consumption as human food is preferred over Barley for the former’s cleaner skin and convenience of use. Barley is disliked for the same reasons and gone out of use as common human food. Now, it is mainly grown and used for making Beer. Barley was developed, cultivated and used as food before Wheat appeared on the scene.
Surprisingly, a majority of human population finds difficulty in consuming Barley as food for developing Rheumatism in their bodies, while Wheat poses no such problem. This is because of the human practice of relying on Wheat has changed body constitution in favor of Wheat, and against Barley. This is one of the most important reasons why average human lifespan has been sliding down from the ideal of 500 years about 2,500 years ago to the present ideal of 100 years.
Comparison of Wheat and Barley
Wheat is a hot and acidic food while Barley grain is cold and alkaline. Human body gets evil effects of ageing through heat and acidity of the atmosphere and those generated inside the body from food intakes. Therefore, all acidic and hot foods create more ageing effects on the body of the consumer, while cold and alkaline foods have no such evil influences on the body. Rice lies somewhere in between Wheat and Barley. Another favorable factor of Barley is its fiber content. While Barley has a great amount of fiber, Wheat is highly deficient in fiber.
Endosperm of Wheat is tastier than that of Barley which makes Wheat a more likable food than Barley. But attached with this lovable factor is stickiness of the Wheat endosperm which is not the case with Barley. Due to sticky nature of Wheat, any food preparation from Wheat tends to stick in intestines of the consumer, causing many disorders in the body. Roasting of Wheat grains or derivative of it reduces the stickiness, hence is essential in many food preparations such as Porridge. Barley poses no such problem and Barley foods move cleanly through the intestines.
Only top crust of Wheat grain coving the endosperm is non-sticky and alkaline in nature. It is used to make a Wheat derivative food ingredient called Semolina. Superfine Wheat grain flour and other Wheat products commercially available in the market are mode after this top-crust is removed from the food-grains, making these foods more harmful than the whole grain foods.
Barley has a top protective layer of hay which is indigestible, hence must be removed from the grains before using the Barley as food. Passing Barley flour through a fine mesh removes major part of the hay, and whatever remains works as useful fiber in the food. This top hay layer of Barley grains has been a major factor for why the humanity has moved away from Barley and favored Wheat.
Cleaning of Barley Grains
Though it is clumsy and difficult to remove the top hay layer from Barley grains, it is not altogether impossible. In Rajasthan State of India, major producer of Barley in India, it is still a food of poor people who have devised ways to remove the hay layer before using Barley as a food constituent. Conventionally, the hay layer is removed by moistening the grains and hitting again and again in a mortar when the hay layer is loosened from the grains which may be blown away. This operation is required to be performed thrice for getting Barley grains clean like the Wheat grains. But this reduces shelf-life of the grains. The process may be mechanized. The gains may then be crushed for reducing to required size and easier to cook as Barley Porridge or for cooking with some pulse gains. I have tried cleaned Barley grains mixed with equal amount of whole grain Lentils and cooking with some oil and spices to suit individual taste-buds.