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Dec 19, 2013 05:30 AM

What's the best method for avoiding barley soaking up my soup?

I made beef barley soup. I know the barley will continue to soak up my soup broth after it is cooked and I'm wondering how to avoid this. The next day, my soup has no broth.

I'm thinking maybe I should cook the barley separately and could freeze it and then when the soup is ready, just add some of the barley to it. I'm cooking a large pot of soup and want to freeze individual portions.

I'm assuming the barley would freeze nicely. Maybe when cooking the barley separately, I should cook it in broth so the barley has extra flavor? Then when I want to have a bowl of soup, I could reheat the frozen soup and add the frozen barley just to the portion I want to eat at the time.

Any suggestions?


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  1. You've answered your own question. Cook the barley separately and cook it as you need it.
    Freeze your soup and keep the barley that you do not need immediately in the cupboard.

    1. I do the same thing with rice, pasta noodles and ramen. Make separately, add separately. The hot broth will heat it sufficiently.

      2 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Same here. I hate noodle soups with flabby, soft noodles. If it's for the freezer, I cook noodles the day we are going to eat it.

        1. Don't make barley (or rice or similar grain-based or pasta-based) soups for leftovers! The aborbent starch has to be made separately unless you want the starch to disintegrate into thickener (which is a goal sometimes).

          4 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            I read these absorbent starch questions often, and somehow don't have that problem. I take the pot off the heat, and cover it, when the starch component is still underdone. It swells more by the time the big pot of soup has cooled, with rice and barley remaining pleasantly toothsome. Sometimes pasta overswells but has never disintegrated. I can't envision all the broth being soaked up unless you're using far too much of the starchy component in your soup. I have never cooked the starch separately but were I going to, I'd do it in stock/broth.

            1. re: greygarious

              I do think many people over do the amount of starch.

              1. re: magiesmom

                I know I have. Throw in a couple of handfuls of barley, stir, think 'that doesn't look like enough', add some more. Now I go with my first amount.

                1. re: Sooeygun

                  I never put in more than a half cup.