Lactation Recipes: Barley-chata

We still have a few weeks left of summer, so let's pack in a few more iced drinks while we can!
Here's a fun and festive beverage inspired by horchata, a Mexican rice cooler. In our version, we use barley for its super lactogenic powers. When barley cooks, a lot of its nutrients are leeched out in the water. What is left is a pleasantly savory and nutty drink which delivers a ton of B vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber to keep you feeling full throughout the day.
Just like oats, barley has been traditionally served to new breastfeeding mamas for its healing and milk-producing effects. We all know it is important to stay hydrated while breastfeeding, especially in the summer. Barley water has a cooling effect on the body, making it the perfect thirst-quenching alternative to plain water. Barley water also increases urination which helps cleanse the body of toxins, fighting off urinary tract infections in the process.
Preparing the Barley-chata is a piece of cake. If you enjoy the taste of mother's milk tea, feel free to use fennel or fenugreek seeds in place of or in addition to cinnamon to sneak in extra potent galactagogues. Cheers to a bright, sunny August!
½ cup pearled barley
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder, or 1 cinnamon stick (alternatives: fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds)
4 cups water
white sugar (to taste), about 1 tsp
1.) Place barley, cinnamon, and water in pot and bring to a boil. Cover, lower flame, and let simmer until barley is soft, about 45 minutes.
2.) Water will thicken and become milky as it simmers. You can add additional water to create your desired consistency.
3.) When barley is cooked through, put mixture through a fine sieve and strain out barley and fennel seeds from water.
4.) While warm, add sugar to barley water until dissolved (optional).
5.) Let the barley water cool, pour over a tall glass of ice, and enjoy throughout the day.

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