Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is a major cereal crop. It was one of the first cultivated grains and is now grown widely. Barley contains eight essential parts of protein (scientists call them amino acids). It can help regulate blood sugar. Barley is versatile with a rich nutty flavour, it's chewy and a bit like pasta. Barley is high in fibre and many other nutrients.  Barley meal, a wholemeal barley flour is used in porridge and gruel, also to thinken soups and stews.