This bulk-bin staple lends a hearty, sweet, nutty taste and toothy texture to winter dishes. Go for nutrient-dense hulled barley; unlike pearl barley, hulled retains the bran layer with its abundant fiber and selenium (pearl barley, stripped of both outer hulls and bran, is not considered a whole grain). Rinse barley in a fine sieve before cooking.

Combine one part hulled barley to three and a half parts liquid (water or broth), bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 90 minutes. For a delicious pilaf, mix with other cooked grains such as quinoa or wild rice, plus sautéed onions, raisins, pine nuts, and parsley. Stir into vegetable soups and meaty stews at the end of cooking.

Substitute cooked barley for some of the bread in your favorite holiday stuffing recipe; flavor with ground cardamom and toasted almonds.

Try barley for breakfast! Use as you would cooked oatmeal, spiffed up with chopped fresh apples, dried fruit, cinnamon, cloves, and walnuts.