Barley Water

Did you know how easy it is to make barley water? Forget Robinson's, it's probably full of rubbish. Not only is barley water easy to make it is nourishing, cheap and just the thing on a hot summer's day.
I adapted a recipe from Rose Prince's book The New English Table which I recommend along with her earlier book The New English Kitchen. This recipe will provide you with a big jug of barley water and a by-product of a bowl of cooked barley more of which later.


8 oz pearl barley
4 pints of water (North American readers note that a pint in the UK is 20fl oz)
3 oranges
5 lemons
2-3 tbsp sugar

Wash the barley in a sieve, put it in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 mins or until the barley is cooked. Strain the water into a jug or bowl and put the cooked barley in a bowl to cool down. Don't whatever you do throw it away as I have seen some recipes instruct. The barley can be used in a salad just as you would rice. I shall dress mine with a vinaigrette and add mint, chopped shallot and cucumber. We will eat it with grilled meatballs tomorrow.

Squeeze the juice from all the citrus fruit, which could also include limes or be all lemons or all oranges. Add the juice (and some of the zest if you like) to the barley water.

Stir in sugar to taste. Stir well to dissolve it.
Chill and enjoy while you watch Wimbledon :o) Actually I don't enjoy mine with Wimbledon, tennis being one of the few sports I dislike watching particularly when matches go on and on and on....

Store the barley water in the fridge and use within a couple of days. I'm sure it would freeze if you can't use it all and of course you can easily halve the recipe.

By the way, you don't have to stick to citrus fruit. I've made it with syrups made of rhubarb and redcurrants which if you have growing in your garden make this even cheaper.

: :

Today is Quince Tree day again. Here she is in June.

And here are the baby quinces.

They are about as big as plums at the moment.

Ingredients is Robinson's Lemon Barley Water (thanks to Ocado)

Water, Sugar, Lemon Juice from Concentrate (17%), Barley Flour (2.5%), Citric Acid, Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid), Sweetener (Saccharin), Natural Flavouring

Looks like I was right.



  1. Yours sounds much nicer!

  2. What a lovely recipe ~ so easy to make! I will have to give that one a try sometime over the summer. The barley salad sounds yummy too. Have a very lovely weekend :O) x

  3. Yum, I used to love barley water when I was a girl in England. This is definitely going on my make very soon list. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. This sounds very different. I have never heard of it here in the U.S. It looks like it would be good...I just may give it a try. Thanks

  5. That brings back very fond memories of my gran - it's what I always used to drink when I was at her house.

    Yours sounds really tasty.

    Have a lovely weekend.

  6. Sue - I salute you. I can't wait to try making this as it's one of those things I've never got round to.

  7. Aroudn this time of year, I think to myelf I am going to make myself some home-made barley water. But do I eck. If your photographs does not tempt me< i donot know what will.

    Happy drinking.

  8. I saw a recipe for Barley Water in a Tea Party book. It is so delicious! As a health counselor, I also share with folks about barley's wonderful nutritional value. btw, I really enjoy your blog. Very beautiful, intellectual, colorful. Your list of favorite things is heart-warming. I'll be back often.

  9. Hi, I'm Louise and I found your blog today... I have loved what I have read so far and I will definitely give this fab recipe a go soon, thanks for sharing it!!

  10. Just like Jill Barley Water was something my Gran always had in the pantry. I must confess to having a couple of bottles of Robinsons on the go, a lemon and an orange. I have a packet of barley sat in my kitchen so I must give this a go! Thanks for the inspiration!
    ps love the quince tree


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