Barley Facts

Barley Facts
Barley is a cereal grain that belongs to the family of grasses. Wild burley originates from western parts of Asia and northern parts of Africa. Cultivated varieties of barley can be found throughout the world today. Barley is one of the most cultivated crops in the world (right behind the wheat, rice and corn). Cultivation of barley started 8000 years ago. Barley is harvested in the summer in the temperate areas and during the winter in the hot climates. This plant is resistant to drought, it germinates quickly and it has short growing season, but it is susceptible to several types of viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Interesting Barley Facts:
Barley is tall grass. It has hairy, upright stem that can reach 31.5 to 34.9 inches in height.
Inflorescence, also known as spike, is located on a top of a plant. Each spike consists of 20 to 60 grains. Barley belongs to the group of self-pollinating plants.
Barley contains 8 essential amino acids, vitamins of the B group and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
The greatest quantity of produced barley (usually more than 50% of globally produced barley) is used as animal food.
Barley is used for malt production, which is main ingredient of beer and whiskey.
Due to its high nutritional value, barley is important part of human diet. It is mostly used as an ingredient of breakfast cereals or in the form of flour. In the food industry, barley is used as soup thickener.
Barley is also used in the manufacture of vinegar.
Roasted barley was used as a coffee substitute during the First and Second World Wars in Italy. This old habit is reviving today since coffee made of barley doesn't contain caffeine, which makes it healthier compared to traditionally used coffees.
Barley straws are sometimes used as algicide in England. Submerged barley straws decrease growth of algae without negative effects on the plants and animals in the ponds.
Ancient Egyptians have used barley for the production of bread and beer.
In the Ancient Greece, barley was used as a special food for gladiators.
English king Edward I of England, introduced new measurement system during his reign at the beginning of the 14th century. 3 barleycorns were equal to the size of one inch, 39 barleycorns to the size of one foot and 117 barleycorns to the size of one yard. Modern shoe size system originates from that period. Size 13 for example, corresponds to the length of 13 barleycorns.
Until the 16th century, barley was one of the most important grains. It was even used as currency.
Greatest producer of barley in the world is Russia. It produces more than 16 metric tons of barley each year.
Barley is an annual plant, which means that it ends its life cycle in one year.

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