Levant barley

Ark of taste
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الشعير البلدي/ الشعير النبوي

The Nabawi barley variety is one of the local varieties from the Levant. It is cultivated in Syria and is found on a small scale in Palestine, especially in the Nablus area.
There are common varieties of barley in the Levant. The morphological differences concern the number of seed rows in the ear and the colour. The white Arab variety has two rows of seeds in the ear, while the Roman variety has four. Some varieties are coarse and therefore not suitable for human consumption, but only for animal feed, but the Nabawi variety, which has no husk, is more suitable for human consumption.
However, some farmers still cultivate the local variety called ‘Nabawi Barely’ with the hull-less (uncovered) seed, similar to wheat, which makes it easier for human consumption.
Nabawi Barley’ has good winter hardiness, but cannot withstand excessive heat and flooding. The harvest period starts earlier than for wheat, at the beginning of May and continues until June in the flat land to the south.
Barley is a cereal that can be used in the preparation of breads, drinks, stews and other dishes. Being a whole grain cereal, barley provides fibre, vitamins and minerals. These offer several health benefits.
It was historically recommended by the Prophet Muhammad in what is called
تلبينة نبوية ‘Talbina’, described as very nutritious and healing, rich in magnesium, which brings happiness. Talbina is a porridge made from barley flour, formed by adding milk and honey to dried barley powder. The name is derived from the Arabic word laban, meaning yoghurt, because of its similarity to yoghurt in that it is soft and white.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is one of the founding crops of Old World agriculture; in fact, some remains of barley grains (Hordeum vulgare) found at archaeological sites in the Fertile Crescent indicate that the crop was domesticated around 10,000 years ago.
For this specific variety (Nabawi), or
السلت (silt), is native to the Levant, its origin is the Arabian Island (Hijaz). There is no data on how and where exactly Nabawi is cultivated. People usually recognise the barley as local (Baladi) and hybrid, but do not distinguish between Nabawi and other varieties.

Barley seeds are used as whole grains or in freshly harvested flowers. The grains are soaked to make barley drink, while the flour is used in many recipes. There is a special bread on the market that is becoming increasingly popular. In the past it was recognised as poor bread, but now it is considered luxurious. Barley seeds are stored in dry conditions like any other grain, without any special treatment other than protection from moisture, rodents and insects.

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Cereals and flours