Autumn is about abundance. No wonder that until the 1500s the season was simply called “harvest” in Germanic languages. Typically barley is planted in spring, from May to June, and harvested from August to October. To celebrate the fall bounty, I want to share with you three delicious autumn barley recipes and explore malt barley.

The sweet, nutty flavour of butternut squash is a taste of autumn for many people. Squash is packed full of vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble vitamin, important in maintaining healthy tissues and promoting healthy skin. This easy-to-make Savoury Butternut Squash Barley Pilaf recipe is beautiful to plate because of the deep orangey-gold colour of the squash and the red peppers. I like the added lemon rind to give a balance to the squash’s sweetness. Let me know what you think!

Slow cookers continue to find their way into many homes across Canada. And I believe chili is the perfect fall meal to make with the shorter days and declining temperatures. I like this Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Chili because you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. For a lower sodium option, I recommend rinsing the black beans and corn with water before adding, using a low sodium tomato sauce and taking three minutes to wash and dice fresh whole tomatoes instead of using canned tomatoes. Another great fall recipe for your collection.

To help explore more of the autumn season with Oktoberfest events, I thought it would be interesting to round up some information about malt barley for you. Here are a few fast facts.
• Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that malting barley varieties account for about 50 per cent of the total barley grown in the province.
• Malting barley is a demanding crop. It requires a combination of precise production, harvest conditions and storage.
• If all of the exact conditions are achieved and the grain meets the maltsters’ strict quality specifications, malting barley can command premium prices and it can be processed into malted barley.
• Interesting point, only about 20 per cent of the malting barley grown is accepted for malting. Malting barley that does not meet maltsters’ specifications is used as livestock feed. Which is not the pearl or pot barley we eat!

Are you hosting an Oktoberfest event? Why not swap the schnitzel on spaetzle and make this Beer Braised Beef on a Bed of Barley? It has triple the barley ingredients – the malt barley in the beer, whole barley flour to thicken the sauce and pearl barley as the bed. There’s no better eating season than autumn in Canada. Add these three delicious recipes to your collection and you’ll take pleasure savouring harvest flavours with barley.