Barley which is a member of the grass family is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climate globally. It is used versatile in soups, stews, bread or beverages in varieties of cuisines from different cultures. Especially, barley is one of the indispensable ingredients in the American diet.
Like many whole grain foods, barley is extremely beneficial for our health due to its rich source of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. The reason why this grain always appears in the diet menu is that it helps consumers reduce hunger while not make them gain weight.
Other impressive nutrition benefits are barley can help to improve digestion, lower the level of cholesterol in our blood and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Therefore, don’t forget to treat yourself best by consuming a sufficient amount of barley every day.
However, what makes most housewives confused is barley is always sold in bulk, so how can it be stored in the best ways to extend its shelf life as much as possible. In this article, we will go through the barley shelf life, the spoilage identifications and what methods to keep this grain safe in the long term.
How long does barley last?
Normally, uncooked barley will stay at best quality for about 18 to 24 months at room temperature. More surprising, if you haven’t opened the bag of barley and properly store it, this grain can be safe for up to 3 years.
However, after a long period of time, barley can be stale and you need to check your grain then to decide to keep it or not. Besides, the ideal shelf life of barley is when storing it in a freezer that can help the grain stay fresh indefinitely.
In case your barley is cooked, its shelf life will obviously be reduced many times at room temperature, it may just last within 1 or 2 days and weeks in the fridge.
How to tell if barley goes bad?
Barley or any kind of grain should be kept dry because once it exposes to moisture, molds are an unavoidable thing. When you see your barley has mold or any discoloration and develops an off odor , it’s time to discard.
Sometimes, it seems hard for you to realize if your barley can continue to be used or not just by eyes or we can call that barley is getting stale, you can chew a bit to test the quality before making a decision to keep or toss it.
How to store barley?
To reiterate, barley has a long shelf-life time even being stored at normal room temperature. Therefore, you just need to keep it in a tightly closed package in a cool dry place. Once the bag is opened, better transfer barley to an airtight container to prevent it from getting wet.
You might have asked yourself if it’s possible to store your barley in a fridge or freezer, then the answer is yes. This will allow extending the shelf life of barley although, in fact, people don’t usually store that way as barley that is regularly stored at room temperature already has a long life span.
Can you freeze barley?
Yes, as mentioned above, you can freeze barley to make it last up to forever, isn’t it amazing? This might make you feel doubted as barley itself can be safe at room temperature for a long time, however, the main challenge is keeping it fresh to prevent contaminants like insects. At that time, it’s recommended to freeze barley in a freezer.
How to freeze barley?
Now you are going to learn how to freeze barley properly in just some simple steps.
Tips to freeze barley
- Cooked barley has a shorter life expectancy, it can last about 6 months in a freezer
- Whatever you freeze, cooked or uncooked barley, it needs to be covered completely in an airtight container or bag
- Allow cooked barley to cool before freezing
- Divide barley into portion sizes that are suitable with your recipes in order to conveniently thaw it later on
Things you’ll need to freeze barley
- A freezer-safe container
How to freeze barley in just 4 steps
Freeze uncooked barley
- Place barley in a freezer-safe container and tightly seal it
- Label the container with storage time if you want
- Stick the container in the freezer
Freezer cooked barley
- Cover your cooked barley with a plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag
- Label the bag then put in the freezer
How to defrost/ thaw barley?
To defrost frozen barley (cooked or uncooked), you just need to simply transfer the bag from the freezer to the fridge for several hours, or put the bag under running water but make sure that the lid or the seal is secure.
Another way is let it thaw at room temperature. It’s so easy, right?
How to reheat barley?
For uncooked barley, after thawing it completely, you can start your own recipe, no need to reheat the grain.
Cooked barley can be reheated so that you can eat it immediately since it was cooked before freezing, and below is the way to warm up your cooked barley.
Tips to reheat barley
- Don’t reheat barley more than once as this can allow time for bacteria to grow
- Add a bit water on the cooked barley to prevent it from drying out
Things you’ll need to reheat barley
- A microwave
- A microwave-safe dish/ bowl
How to reheat barley
- After thawing the cooked barley completely, place barley in a microwave-safe dish or bowl
- Put the dish/ bowl in the microwave
- Set on high power and microwave for about 2 minutes until your barley is piping hot
- Serve your barley and enjoy