|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 5 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 1g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 47g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||18%|
|Total Sugars 32g|
|Vitamin C 84mg||418%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Lemon barley water is an old-fashioned tonic that was once given to the weak as an alternative source of nourishment. In fact, it dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It's still a nourishing, revitalizing drink these days that can be enjoyed hot or cold. Barley is loaded with B and E vitamins, antioxidants, and 8 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup raw.
In Mexico, lemon barley water is one variety of a popular street beverage known as aguas frescas. Brits,
Australians and Asians all have their own varieties drunk either chilled or warm. Some people use sugar in their recipes, but try honey for a more intense flavor. If you have any fresh ginger handy, finely grate about 1 tablespoon of it and boil it with the barley for a gingery kick.
Barley adds body and a nutty flavor to the drink. Pearl barley or pearled barley is the variety best suited for this recipe—pearled barley just means that the bran has been removed through a polishing process and has been steam treated for quicker cooking. Use the leftover barley to make a tasty side dish, add it to soup, or make risotto.
How to Make Your Own Lemon Barley Water
3/4 cup pearl barley
2 medium lemons, zested and juiced
6 cups water
1/2 cup honey
Gather the ingredients.
Place the barley in a sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
Place barley in a 2-quart saucepan with grated lemon zest and 6 cups of water.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain mixture into a heatproof bowl. Reserve the barley for another use.
Add honey to the bowl and stir to dissolve.
Stir in lemon juice and serve hot or then let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Pour into bottles and refrigerate until chilled. Serve and enjoy!
How to Store
Barley water will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If you like to enjoy barley water hot, you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
Don't toss that barley! With a little more cooking, the grain can be used in a variety of applications:
- The barley will only be partially cooked after making barley water. Pearl barley needs to simmer for at least 30 minutes (and up to an hour) in a 2:1 ratio of water or broth to grain. The barley is done cooking when it is tender with a bite, like al dente pasta, but not hard.
- Use barley in salads or pilafs, as a hearty grain in soups and stews, or as a grain base and pile vegetables, meat, herbs, and sauces on top.
What Are the Benefits of Barley Water?
Barley water and barley tea have been enjoyed by various cultures for thousands of years as a health beverage. Some studies have been done about the affect of barley water on health, with more research needed. Current research shows that barley water contains antioxidants and may help lower cholesterol and assist in regulating blood sugar.
Etoh, H., Murakami, K., Yogoh, T., Ishikawa, H., Fukuyama, Y., & Tanaka, H. (2004). Anti-oxidative compounds in barley tea. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 68(12), 2616–2618. https://doi.org/10.1271/bbb.68.2616