sparkalina loves barley—and all whole grains, like wheat berries, spelt, and farro—but finds it a pain to cook them on the stovetop (and stovetop cooking can give a gummy texture). However, it is entirely possible to cook barley in a rice cooker, and the texture is fantastic. The grains come out perfectly cooked, not the least bit gummy, and pleasantly chewy. (Best of all, delicious crunchy brown bits stick to the bottom of the rice cooker.)

Barley is also excellent cooked in a casserole in the oven (with plenty of liquid), says rudysmom. Or, for more successful stovetop cooking, try toasting the barley in hot fat first, until you get a nutty smell and each grain is coated in fat, says Starka. Then add liquids to simmer until done.

Board Link: Oh, Barley–how I love thee!

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