According to Ayurveda, barley water is an excellent diuretic, which cures urinary tract infections (UTI) and also helps the body to keep cool during the summers. It is good for invalids as provides some nutrition and hydration to those who have lost their appetites. There are all sorts of claims associated with barley water from reducing wrinkles to soothing an inflamed stomach. Or you can just drink it because you like it!!
This healthy beverage has made a mark in various cultures – Greek, Britain, and East and Southeast Asia. In ancient Greece, one of their favourite beverages called kykeon was made with barley water, and it was deemed to be a cure for various ailments. In Britain, it was mostly used as a hot beverage, much like tea, and flavoured with lemon rinds, sugar or other fruit juices. There is a tradition of lemon barley water being served to tennis players as a cooling drink at Wimbledon. In Asia, barley water is enjoyed both, hot or cold, and drank as is or flavoured with lemon.
500g pearl barley
3 litres water
4.5 cups sugar
8 lemons (zest and juice)
1 tbsp citric acid
1 tbsp tartaric acid
Put the pearl barley and water into a large saucepan. Add lemon zest thinly peeled with a potato peeler.
Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 40 minutes.
Pour the barley water through a sieve, keeping both the water and the barley (the barley can be used in salads or with nuts and fruit for breakfast).
Put the barley water back into the saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients. Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Ladle the cordial into hot sterilized bottles and seal.
Serve to taste with water or soda – about 1 part cordial to 4 parts water. Once opened keep in the fridge.