Barley botanically known as Hordeum vulgare is the fourth most important cereal crop in the world after wheat, maize, and rice. Barley may be one of the oldest grains on earth. In ancient times barley played a much greater role than that of wheat as it is so adaptable to a variety of soils and can even grow in soil high in salinity. In Bible times, barley was much more widely cultivated than now and was the main food of the poor.
Barley began to lose favor when people discovered that bread made with wheat could offer a superior loaf because of the gluten-producing properties of wheat protein which makes the bread became lighter and able to be kept longer. The importance of barley as a food crop began to change about the sixteenth century when farmers in the Middle East began growing wheat for food and barley as a fodder crop.
Unfortunately , barley grain is mostly used as feed for animals and malt which is used in whisky and beer production. Barley can be found rarely on regular stores, it is more likely to be available at health food stores.