Barley/Grain Water ~ Delicious Immune Support in a Simple Drink

The Benefits of Barley Water

Ten, or so, Decades ago the human family did things differently.

They stocked up for winter, ate little meat during the summer, enjoyed vigorous physical labor and made their own home-brewed remedies.

Barley Water Image

source: Find Home Remedy

One of the home-brewed remedies was Barley or Grain Water.

A simple drink primarily made with grains – like barley – and water.  Sometimes cream of tartar is added for extra health benefits.

In the Mormon Scripture Compilation The Doctrine and Covenants, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, barley is mentioned as a useful mild drink for humans:

17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine,
and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

The members of the LDS church are promised that if they live by the Word of Wisdom, as directed in Section 89, that they will be blessed with good health, great wisdom and knowledge, and that the that “the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.” D&C 89:21

Aunt Faye’s simple recipe for a Barley Water is:

1/4 cup Barley, (alone or mixed with Millet, Oats, Rice and Rye or other grains)

2 to 3 cups clean water (I use distilled, but filtered is ok)

Bring to boil. Either put in thermal cooker or leave on stove with heat turned down low or off.

When it is cooked the grains are popped with the insides out. I then put this mixture in ice trays in the freezer. I use one ice cube per cup of water.

My sister simply puts the mix in a gallon jug and fills it with more clean water. I do not use it often enough to drink the whole gallon in a week. I do not drink it after it starts to sour.

The 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar helps it work faster and more thoroughly.

Aunt Faye

Some online recipes use lemon juice or lime juice to perk up the beverage, but most who drink it find it delicious as it is.
If you need a bit of sweetener, adding raw honey from your area will help with allergies, sucanet or evaporated cane juice will work well as a sweetener.  The diabetic can use stevia as well.

Sweeteners are not necessary with this beverage and from what I hear, drinking it warm with a bit of salt is like having a tasty cup of broth – perfect for those days that you are under the weather.

Individuals that I have association with claim that the barley or grain water has health benefits as well:

Aunt Faye had this to say about using barley water (Dec 2014):

Uncle Don has been quite ill since Saturday evening when we came home from Thanksgiving. He has even missed a party or two.

Last evening, I was talking to my sister. She asked what to do for a 17-year-old girl who was passing out every time she eats. I told her to start her on “Barley Water,” with an 1/8 teaspoon of “Real” Salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar for every pint of “Barely Water.”

This sister drinks the “Barley Water” and Cream of Tartar every morning. If she goes without it too long, she can’t breath.

So, last night, before I went to bed I made a batch of “Grain Water.” This morning, I gave Uncle Don one cup of the “Grain Water.” He has been puttering around all day, but did not even take a nap.

This evening, I will give him and me each a cup of the “Grain Water.”

Aunt Faye

Another associate stated (Dec 2014):

Daughter came home from school yesterday with “flu” type symptoms. Among them was a deep wet cough and she said she had trouble breathing earlier in the day (wheezy feeling). I just grinned at her, settled her comfortably on the couch. Next came elderberry and flu bomb essential oils. She looked at me and said, “What, no barley water?”. I giggled and told her it was already brewing. Gave her a cup with the cream of tartar. She could breathe easier within minutes of taking it.



Eden Gardening – Part 2

Oops…this was supposed to be up a while back, but it did not post…sorry…tech scheduling error .

I know it’s no longer winter and spring is upon us, but this may give you ideas for next fall.

This is a continuation of my epic garden fail this past spring 2015.

If you read the Eden Gardening – Part 1, the whole sordid story is publicly posted for the world to read, and laugh, or cry – like I did. There is also a nifty film recommending Eden Gardening – a very productive and deeply naturalistic gardening experience that I think you will enjoy….IF you enjoy gardening.  Back to Eden Film

Are you ready to do something different this next year – the time to start is now!

Now?  it’s near winter for crying out loud! ~ yep it sure is.

It would have been even better if had suggested this in September as the last of your last withering crops were being tilled out of the ground, but that would have made too much sense.  I, unfortunately, neglected to layer my garden this past fall – I was still licking my wounds over an epically failed garden.  Next year – I’ll supplement my wood chips in the fall.  

The BEST part about spreading wood chips is:
No pre-weeding or plowing is required…just pour, spread and ignore.
Love It! 🙂

The reason to start laying your wood chip foundation in the fall or winter is so that it will have time to compost underneath and provide a nice bed for your growing plants next spring.  By year spring number two, after you have applied your second layer, the soil below will be a deep brown-black color and very rich in vital nutrients your plants will love!

Where to Find Wood Chips:

Fall wood chip pile. source: Restored Roots

Fall wood chip pile.

Your local city waste management company may be able to direct you to where the tree and brush recycling centers are located.  Often you will need to bring your own pick-up truck, and there maybe a cost to obtaining wood-chips.

There are also businesses that will deliver wood chips to your garden location, but most will only dump them in, or near, your garden space.  Delivery drivers usually do not spread the chips, so you will probably have to do that yourself or hire someone to spread them for you.

Note: Sawdust is NOT the same as wood chips.  The wood chips I am referring to, come from natural roadside gleaning, where the utility companies come in and cut local wood to clean up a street or neighborhood.  Using treated wood chips – either pre-sprayed for weed suppression – or treated wood for insect prevention will negatively effect your garden area and possibly introduce contaminates into your garden harvest.

How to Spread the Wood Chips

When your wood chips have been dumped on your garden space, you will need to spread them over your garden area. Spreading wood chips is hard work – sorry, but it is.  I suggest the employment a few family, friends and neighborhood kids, well armed with rakes, shovels and wheel barrows.

For a garden foundation spread the wood chips over the garden area at a minimum of 8 inches – deep.
(If you are planning to use as a mulch over settled beds, then 2-4″ would be a better spread.)
The reason for 8 inches is to allow for complete weed suppression and self-heating composting for next spring plantings.
It will take a large truckload of chips to create an 8 ft x 6 ft’ garden space at least 8″- 12″ deep.  Most truckloads will cost you 60.00 – 150.oo to deliver, unless your area is giving truckloads of chips away for free. If so, they may deliver the fresh truckload to your garden space, at the end of the day, on their way back to the office.

Raised Bed Eden Garden

If you want your wood chip garden to be uniform or in a raised bed – it is easy.  Rake the edges of the chips to your desired height and then surround the garden bed with either raised bedding materials or set edging material around the wood chip area. Then fill your raised, bed-to-be with wood chips.  You can also mix in dried leaves as a compost extra.
Caution: avoid Walnut leaves, they inhibit germination 

When the wood chips are spread, cover the bed with dark plastic and let it sit through the winter to break down into a nutritive soil.

What Happens to the Wood Chips After they are Spread?

When the thick bed of wood chips has been spread over the garden bed in the late fall and left to sit until spring, the wood chips at the bottom begin to compost.  This composting causes heat to develop in the wood chip bed and promotes wood chip disintegration.  This composting is a good thing, because nutrients trapped in the plant material, mainly wood chips, are broken down and absorbed by the soil to aid is providing the proper diet the garden will need during the growing season.

Gardening in Wood Chips

The first spring after wood chips are laid down, there may not be sufficient composted wood chips beneath.
The wood chips continue to break down through the growing season and into the next winter, but the first year the composted bed is just beginning to establish itself.  You may need to purchase some composted soil to make up the difference sue to a lack of developed compost in you first year gardening bed.

During this first year, the soil surrounding the pre-sprouted plants will provide extra growth medium while the compost bed further establish themselves.   Remove the excess potting soil surrounding the plant roots, without leaving them bare, and mix the loose potting soil with the compost in the hole prepared for the plant, then place the plant into the mixed dirt.  When the two mediums are mixed like this, the plant roots ‘taste’ the composted soil mixed with the potting soil and accept this new mix as part of its natural growth medium.

Maintaining the Wood Chips

Just as a harvested garden is plowed under and prepared for the next planting season, so too will the wood chip garden need pre-winter maintenance.  Before you break a sweat, I assure you that this part is easy compared to the old-fashioned way of maintaining a garden.

Here’s what you won’t be doing: Rototilling, plowing or preparing the ‘soil’.

The step is simple, remove any unwanted plants, (ie: weeds), leave the rest for compost, then spread more wood chips – another 4″ to 6″ – and let it sit for another winter season.  You can weed if you want, but it is not necessary.  If you choose not to weed then add an extra 3 inches to the wood chip layer to ensure that the weeds get well composted.

By year two, the Spring wood chip compost layer will be rich and dark, basically like fresh new soil.

Maintaining the wood chips is easy.  Each year, all you need to do is add another thick layer of wood chips in the fall, (cover them, if they are in a bed), and let them sit.  That’s it!

Follow the Restored Roots Gardening Experience, parts 1 and 2:

Our First Back to Eden Garden (Part 1) – Early Summer

Remember, if you purchase a soil supplement, such as compost, topsoil or potting soil the first year, your seedlings and seeds will not have so much of the struggles that restoredroots started with.  As for slugs, they can be managed with an organic slug bait or with the old-fashioned near-beer in a tuna-can ritual.

Our First Back to Eden Garden (Part 2) – Early Fall

I love Eden Gardening, Restored Roots loved Eden Gardening and I think you will too!

May the Storage Be With You,

Anne  🙂