We grow a lot of barley in Oregon, but it’s mostly used to make beer or feed cattle. Most of what we actually eat is pearled, a process that grinds the tough hull off the barley berry. Unfortunately, it takes most of the nutrients and fiber, so pearled barley lands in the same category as white rice or industrial bread, an incomplete carbohydrate best eaten only occasionally.
Plant researchers at Oregon State University Barley World are working to reintroduce eaters to naked barley. Varieties that easily shed their tough outer hull, naked barleys have been around forever, but not widely cultivated as a food crop. It’s a shame, because naked barleys are delicious, and they provide regional farmers another crop for feeding us.
PURPLE VALLEY BARLEY SALAD
WITH PICKLEEZ IN PURPLE
Purple Valley naked barley gets its name from the color of the uncooked grains. It fades with cooking, but Portland’s own Haitian-style pickled cabbage provides plenty of color to this simple salad. It gets a flavor boost from some of our favorite Sicilian olives. Giarraffa olives are an ancient native variety, and cracking each olive allows the curing brine to penetrate and remove the bitter compounds more quickly. It also makes pitting easy.
Combine the cooked barley with some Creole Me Up Pickleez in Purple, a handful each of chopped giarraffa Sicilian olives and salt-packed Pantellerian capers, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, and eat. Mix in a tin of Portuguese sardines for another layer of flavor.
A couple of our favorite producers put together a pair of trios for us. Get them both for a six-pack of spicy goodness.
Nikki Guerrero makes Hot Mama chili oils in Portland, Oregon, with locally grown peppers. This Gift Set contains all 3 of Hot Mama’s varieties: Smokey Coffee, Guajillo, and Chili de Arbol, ranging in heat level from Mild to Hot. Perfect on everything from rice bowls to noodles to scrambles
Located in Boonville in Northern California’s Anderson Valley, Piment d’Ville grows and processes a domestic version of the classic Basque pepper piment d’espelette. This Collection Box contains all 3 of Piment d’Ville’s varieties (classic, spicy, and smokey) in a convenient package perfect for the devoted pepperhead. Whichever spice level you go for, the earthy sweetness of the peppers make them perfect for Deviled Eggs, bouillabaisse, and avocado toast.