Summer is here and it’s time to explore barley’s versatility for beverages beyond beer! Keeping hydrated is important year round, but especially so in hot weather, as it keeps our brains focused and prevents our bodies from overheating. So, to remain cool during the dog days of summer, here are three delicious and hydrating barley beverages to add to your menu.

Almond Barley Smoothie

As a busy entrepreneur, I’m a fan of smoothies for a quick, on-the-go, nutritious breakfast, or as fast afternoon snack to keep me hydrated on those warm summer days. Using no sugar added almond beverage, pitted dates, barley and cinnamon gives this smoothie a savoury, nutty flavour, which is a refreshing change from the usual fruity smoothies. Serve over ice for an extra boost of hydration.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Keep one-cup (250 mL) containers of cooked barley in the freezer and ready to go. These precooked and measured portions make it easy to add barley to your smoothies and all of your other summer salads and sides.

Barley Water and Tea

I’ve mentioned barley water in my Barley Balance posts, and as the summer heat fast approaches, I thought it was the perfect time to highlight it again. When I talk about healthy living I recommend adding more plant-based foods such as barley and drinking water throughout the day. So, why not do both?

This simple recipe uses just ½ cup (125 mL) of barley and 8 cups (2 L) of water boiled together on the stovetop. Once cooked, strained and cooled, you simply add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, a pinch of salt and voila—hydrating. refreshing barley water.

Another rejuvenating barley beverage is tea. Barley tea is enjoyed in many countries worldwide, and can be found in specialty Asian grocery stores. Serve barley tea hot or cold for a special drink this summer.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
The cooked barley from the barley water can be refrigerated or frozen, then added to salads, soups or even the Almond Barley Smoothie recipe!

Fruit, Yogurt and Barley Smoothie

This recipe uses barley flakes instead of pearled barley and it makes two servings. Barley flakes can be purchased at the supermarket or at specialty baking stores. The fruit, berries, yogurt (I use plain 2% Greek yogurt for added protein), and ground flaxseed pack a wallop of flavour and nutrition in this barley-based beverage. Want to decrease the sugar content? Use water instead of fruit juice to achieve the desired consistency. I like to make this smoothie thicker and keep it chilled by serving over ice.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
I encourage you to dream up various summery combination using different seasonal fruits, berries and leafy greens to make a unique barley smoothie every time.

Barley Bottom-line
Staying hydrated in the summer heat keeps your body energized, memory sharp and your mood stable. The good news is that these three barley beverages will keep you cool and hydrated all season long—so, drink up!