Preparedness Challenge Week 11
This is Part 2 of a two-part blog post about flour and whole grains. This week the focus of the preparedness challenge is adding grain, especially wheat, to your food storage. Last week the challenge was to add flour. Most people who are building a food storage find that both flour and whole grains have a place in their food storage. Ultimately, you can decide whether flour or grains, or a combination of both, match up with your preparedness needs.
Whole Grains are Foundational
As people recognize the benefits from living a healthy lifestyle, many are adding whole grains to their diets. So, if healthy grains are important to you, you’ll likely want to have a supply in your pantry. I like to organize and store my grains in airtight containers such as the OXO Good Grips 4-Qt. POP container.
Whole grains are also the foundation of a basic, long-term food storage. Grains, along with legumes, deliver a complete and nourishing high-quality protein and provide more nutrition for the money than any other food.
What Grains Should You Store?
The main grains for long-term storage are wheat, rice, and corn. To add variety and enhance nutrition, consider adding specialty grains such as amaranth, barley, buckwheat, flax, millet, quinoa, rye, sorghum, and triticale. Oatmeal and other cereals can also be added to enrich the diet. If whole grains don’t suit you, add more flour to your storage.
How Much Grain Should You Store?
How much grain you store will depend on your food storage goals. Do you intend to use the grains you store in your regular diet? Or, are you only storing grains as “food insurance,” more for a long-term crisis, just in case?
The amount of grain you store will vary, depending on your attitude about whole grain, how much grain you are used to using, how large your family is, unique health issues, how much storage space you have, and your budget. With these variables in mind, you can adjust the recommended amount of grain to fit your needs.
HOW MUCH WHEAT IS IN A LOAF OF BREAD?
If you plan to store wheat, think about how much wheat is in a loaf of bread—The average loaf of bread contains one pound of flour (about 3 cups). One pound of grain equals one pound of whole grain flour. So, to have a loaf of bread every other day for fifty days, you would need about 25 pounds of wheat. With that in mind, the challenge this week is to add 25 pounds of wheat to your food storage.
Purchase a 25-pound bag of wheat. This is the most economical way to buy wheat. I recommend transferring it to a five-gallon food bucket, for storing. Seal it with a gamma-seal lid or other airtight seal.
Purchase five #10 cans of wheat with oxygen absorbers. If stored properly, wheat in these cans have a storage life of thirty years.
Purchase wheat packaged in a large Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers and contained in a five-gallon food storage bucket. This is ideal for long-term wheat storage. This is also an option for DIY if you are so inclined. (See below for detailed directions.)
Not a wheat fan? Purchase rice or a variety of grains such as amaranth, brown rice, millet, oat groats, pearl barley, quinoa, rye, etc. Or purchase additional flour.
Advantages of Adding Wheat to Your Food Storage?
- Wheat is inexpensive—just one pound of wheat will make a loaf of bread.
- Wheat has a long shelf life if stored properly.
- Whole wheat is nutritious and filling.
- Fresh-out-of-the-oven, homemade whole wheat bread is the ultimate comfort food!
How Much Wheat Do You Need for Long-Term Wheat Storage?
For long-term food storage I recommend that you store 150 pounds of wheat per person. That’s over a quarter ton of wheat for a family of four! A 5-gallon food storage bucket holds about 37 pounds of wheat and a #10 can holds five-and-a-half pounds. One hundred and fifty pounds will fill about four 5-gallon food storage buckets and close to 30 #10 cans!
How to Use Mylar Bags with Food Storage Buckets
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers used in combination with storage buckets are excellent for long-term storage as they prevent insect infestation and oxidation problems. The buckets give support and protection from puncture. If you want to DIY and package wheat for long-term storage follow the directions below.
- Place a twenty-by-thirty-inch bucket-sized bag in a storage bucket and fill with grain.
- Fill the bag with about thirty-five pounds of grain, leaving enough space to seal the package.
- Add 2,000 cc oxygen absorbers. (Keep oxygen absorbers not being used in an airtight container until needed.)
- Immediately heat seal the bag. Place the top of the filled bag across a hard surface, such as a metal-edged carpenter’s level or a two-by four-inch piece of wood.
- Use an iron set on high. Firmly press the hot iron against the bag where it rests on the hard surface.
- The best seals are at least a half-inch wide.
- Check seals after several hours to be sure they’re good. Seal multiple times if necessary.
Tips for Purchasing Wheat
- Look for grain that is clean with very little chaff.
- Grain packaged in double plastic bags, food storage containers, or #10 cans will store better than those in paper packaging.
- Repackage grains packaged in paper packaging and store in airtight containers.
- Choose hard white winter wheat for making bread with a mild flavor, more like bread from white flour.
- Choose hard red winter wheat for making bread with a nutty, robust flavor.
- Choose soft wheats for making more tender baked goods like biscuits, muffins, and cakes.
Unique Wheat Varieties
ANCIENT WHEAT VARIETIES
Spelt, emmer, einkorn, and Kamut khorasan are types of ancient wheat that originated in the Fertile Crescent region. These grains have become popular because they are less hybridized than modern wheat. They have a reputation for being easier to digest and are sometimes tolerated by those with wheat sensitivities. They also have more micronutrients and a higher protein content than modern varieties. They are valued for their rich flavors and interesting textures. Learn more about these grains at Oldways Whole Grain Council.
HERITAGE WHEAT VARIETIES
Red Fife, Turkey Red, and White Sonoma are examples of heritage varieties of wheat that predate modern industrial wheat. They have been cultivated regionally and adapted to specific soils and growing conditions and are often prized by artisan bakers for their superior baking properties and subtle and unique flavors. Like ancient varieties, they may be helpful for those with wheat sensitivities.
Where Can I Purchase Wheat?
In my research, I found, once again, that the Home Storage Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have the best price for wheat. They offer both white winter wheat and red winter wheat and sell it in both 25-pound sacks and #10 cans.
Wheat is grown in many parts of the United States. Search for local wheat processors in your area and purchase directly from them. Or, you can also purchase wheat from online stores such as Augason Farms, Azure Standard, Bob’s Red Mill, Honeyville, Palouse, Pleasant Hill Grains, and Rainy Day Foods.
What Is a Fair Price for Wheat?
You may have noticed that the price of wheat fluctuates over time. The price especially goes up if there is a drought and the crops and smaller, when there is increased demand during uncertain times, or when there is inflation pressure and general price rising. For example, the price of wheat is currently almost 50% higher than it was a year ago. You should expect to pay between fifty cents and a dollar per pound for wheat. You will also pay more per pound for small quantities and trendy brands.
Find out more about storing foods in Crisis Preparedness Handbook, Third Edition (2020). If you don’t already have a copy, you can find it here on my website CrisisPreparedness.com. Or, read it on Amazon in the Kindle version or hard copy version.
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