I don't know if lemon and barley is so common here in Australia, but growing up in NZ, I remember drinking lemon and barley flavoured powdered drinks (I don't know if powdered drinks are even that popular in Aus, seems to be all about cordial here). Anyway, it goes without saying that I don't drink anything powdered (or cordial) anymore, but when I saw a recipe for barley water in Nourishing Traditions, it did catch my interest.
At the time I had no barley, so at the first opportunity I bought some. Our local organic buying group does quarterly bulk purchases of grains, beans, dried fruits etc, so I ordered some barley. I accidentally got a carton of 6 1 kg bags instead of 1 bag, so now I have a lot of barley to use.
The recipe for fermented lemon and barley is very simple and much like the lacto-fermented ginger ale and beet kvass fermented drinks that I had already tried. The only complicated part is preparing the barley. In this case the recipe said to wash 4 tablespoons of barley and bring to the boil, discard the water and then add 2 L of water to be simmered in a double-boiler for 2 hours. The barley is then strained and the water is used to make the drink (I used the boiled barley in rissoles that I was making anyway, so its a good idea to have a use for about half a cup of cooked barley when you're finished!).
To the barley water is added some whey, lemon juice and sugar to taste. The whole thing then ferments at room temperature for a few days. I then strained it again, because there was a fair bit of "sludge" on the bottom of the jug, but most of it went through the strainer and settled at the bottom of the next jug anyway, so its probably not worth straining it again (doesn't worry me as long as it stays on the bottom!).
The finished drink is delicious chilled. I'm not sure how much the barley contributes, it really just tastes like lemon and sugar to me,and surprisingly like the powdered drink too. Pete thought it should be fizzy, but I'm used to drinking this flavour still, so I prefer it without bubbles.
This is now another favourite fermented drink, which is lucky as I have plenty of barley to use up! Any other suggestions for fermented drinks? Any other suggestions for using up 6 kg of barley? I don't really know what to do with it all.....
This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday – 1/23/13.