What the Hull Does Pearled Mean? - Bob's Red Mill Blog
What the Hull Does Pearled Mean?
Healthy Living on June 22, 2010 by

What the Hull Does Pearled Mean?

Pearling Mill: Photo courtesy of http://img.hisupplier.com/var/userImages/2009-08/14/Hybers$140614622%28s%29.jpg

Pearling Mill: Photo courtesy of www.hisupplier.com

To follow up from my post last week about hulling grains, I thought I would touch upon the difference between hulling and pearling when it comes to grains. We learned about hulling, where the hull is thrown into an impact huller and essentially smashed off of the grain. This leaves a grain intact and the hulled grain is considered to be a whole grain.

Pearling is a similar, but different process in which a grain passes through a pearling machine. This machine, at least the one they use where we buy our white rice, looks like two large roller mills. The grains pass between the rolls and the bran is gently pearled off, leaving the pretty white kernels intact. Pearling is done to lower the cooking times of grains and extend the shelf life.

Pearl barley and white rice are the most common pearled grains that we eat.

Pearl barley and white rice are the most common pearled grains that we eat.

By far, the most common grains we eat that have been pearled are White Rice and Pearled Barley*. The majority of barley that you find in boxed meals and canned soups is pearl barley. This barley is not considered whole grain. At Bob's Red Mill, the pearled barley we buy has only been stripped of some of its bran, making it closer to a whole grain than others on the market- but try as you might, you can't take some bran off and keep calling it a whole grain. It's just not true.

*Whether it is the exception or the rule, the brown rice we purchase passes through a pearling machine to remove the hull leaving the brown kernel intact. I could not find out if this was a standard practice or just what our supplier does. I would hazard to guess that this is the standard for the industry.

For extra fun, watch this odd little video about pearling rice.

10 Comments

  1. richard grant
    I've been cooking this pearl barley for an hour and a half now (instructions say 50-60 mins) and I still can't get my teeth through the husk. Will this stuff be edible?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Richard,

      The pearl barley should be cooked after 50-60 minutes. It sounds to me like something may not be right with your package of pearl barley. I'm going to forward your message along to our customer service team to help solve this mystery. If you want, you can also call them right now at 800-349-2173.
      Reply
  2. Louise Savino
    Looking for wheat berries with no skin. It almost looks like barley. Does anyone know where I can find it? I use it in an Italian grain pie.
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      I'm sorry, but I do not know where you could find that. Like pearled wheat, huh?
      Reply
    2. michael g. giuseffi
      michael g. giuseffi
      Louis-
      Try to find SOFT Spring wheat berries at your local health food store or on Amazon. Whatever you do look for SOFT wheat berries or whole grains. Of course for Pastiera you will need to cook the wheat grains before proceeding with the recipe. (Bring wheat to a boil for 15 mins. turn off heat and let soak 24 hours at room temp. The next day drain the grain and add fresh water and some salt-cook until tender. About an hour).
      Michael Giuseffi
      Reply
  3. Leonard Kashton
    Do you people have pearled hard red spring wheat?
    Reply
  4. Leonard Kashton
    Looking for pearled red spring hard wheat
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      I'm sorry, we do not sell pearled hard red spring wheat.
      Reply
  5. Ralph Loring
    Is your Grains-of-Discovery Organic Farro whole grain, pearled, or semi pearled? I can’t find that information anywhere on your package
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Ralph - It is ‘pearled’ or ‘scored’. There is no industry-wide accepted definition for these two terms and the distinction between them is open for interpretation. Our farro is very lightly scratched, as is traditional, to allow for a faster cooking time and to encourage the release of its starches during cooking, but it maintains its wholesome nutrients.
      Reply

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