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History Cookbook: Lemon and Barley Water

This recipe is in categories Victorians, Picnic
About this recipe
Healthiness : (496 votes)
Difficulty:  1 out of 5 difficulty
Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time. I made this to drink the next day.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Number of servings: Makes about 6-8 glasses
Serving suggestions: Serve with ice and perhaps some cucumber sandwiches.
This is a vegan recipe

Barley waters were popular drinks during the Victorian era. The barley was thought to be nutritious and therefore particularly good for children and the elderly. The Victorians began to take interest in healthy eating and diet. Charcoal biscuits could be bought to help digestion and the first digestive biscuits were produced and sold.

Picnics gained popularity with the wealthy. Although these were less formal than a meal served at the table, they were still grand affairs with glasses and china, cutlery and white tablecloths. Barley water would be served for children, with hot tea for the adults.
  • 3oz (150g) pearl barley
  • 3 pints (1800ml) water
  • 3 lemons
  • 3oz (150g) sugar
  • Pan
  • Strainer
  • Knife
  • Jug
  • Spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Place the barley and water into a pan, cover and boil for 30 minutes
  2. Strain the liquid into a large jug, through a sieve
  3. Finely peel the lemons, removing only the outer yellow layer, and add this to the jug
  4. Remove the white pith from the lemons
  5. Slice the fruit and add to the jug
  6. Stir in the sugar and allow to go cold
  7. Pour/strain the cold liquid into a fresh jug and serve

This will keep for up to 5  days in the fridge.

Lemon and Barley Water - print view  Lemon and Barley Water - print view

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Name: Devon 2nd March 2017
Name: Harry 14th December 2016
A really strong aftertaste
Name: Pippa 12th November 2016
I made this and the caraway seeds cake for a Victorian project at school
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