Barley…Grain with long history

Barley’s domestication

Remains of barley grains found at archaeological sites in the Fertile Crescent indicate that around 10,000years ago, barley was domesticated from ‘Hordeum Spontaneum’ , its wild variant. Wide presence; long heritage Wild barley ranged from North Africa to the Tibet with the earliest evidence of the grain dating back to about 8,500 BC near the Sea of Galilee.

Drink of the pharaohs

Archeological excavations as far as 100 km from Cairo, Egypt have shown that barley was grown over 8,000 years ago. Beer was an extremely popular drink among Ancient Egyptians, drank by adults and children. Beer or ‘Hqt’ (pronounced Heqet) was the drink of the wealthy and poor. Engraving on temple walls depict barley being used to make uniquely light bread that would later be fermented in water to make beer before being stored in jars. Archeologists have found traces in drinking jars that indicate that barley was used to make malt while dates and spices were often added to enhance the flavor.

Barley the power grain

Barley was also quite popular in Ancient Greece, often mixed with herbs to make a drink called Kykeon. Barley was also dried to make porridge and was a regular food for Greek Gladiators. The ancient Greeks also found barley to be a very good remedy for gastrointestinal inflammations. The Hebrews even used the grain as a symbol of power and gave it a warlike connotation.

Barley today

Currently, there are around 16 different species of barley growing in over 100 countries across the globe.