Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's week #1 in September and we are focusing on.....Wheat and Grains

(Image courtesy of

When most people think about Food Storage, one of the first things that come to mind is Wheat.  The second and third things are usually "What do I do with it?" and "Where how do I store it?"  We will try to answer both questions this week.

(Image coutesy of

This diagram shows the 3 major portion of the kernel  the Germ, Endosperm, and the bran.   The germ is what 'germinates' when you are sprouting.  It is important that it be viable if you are wishing to use some of your wheat this way.  In order to be viable, you will need to store a portion of your wheat without Oxygen Absorbers and they can kill the germ.  In addition, the germ contains vitamins and minerals.

The Bran also contains vitamins and minerals, but also is the 'fiber' portion of the kernel.  The Endosperm has the 'energy' portion of the grain.

What types of wheat are there?

There are 6 classes of wheat that include:  hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, durum, hard white, and soft white.   Overall they are classified by either "Winter" or "Spring" Wheat.

  • Hard red winter (HRW) wheat is the dominant class in the United States in acreage, production and use.  HRW is used for bread, rolls and, to a lesser extent, sweet goods and all-purpose flour.

  • The flour from Soft Red Winter Wheat is used to make cakes, cookies, snack foods, crackers and pastries

  • Hard red spring (HRS) wheat has the highest protein level among the bread wheats.  It is the premier bread wheat. HRS is often used to fortify hard red winter (HRW) flours for bread making.  Bread-machine flours are generally made of a combination of HRS and HRW flours.

  • Durum wheats are the hardest and highest protein wheat grown in the United States.  Durum wheat flours are used to produce semolina which is used to make pasta (spaghetti and similar noodle) products.

  • Hard white (HW) wheat is the newest class of wheat in the United States.  Some can be used in place of hard red winter or hard red spring wheats for bread-making. These varieties can be thought of as hard red wheats with their bran color removed. Others can be used in place of high protein soft white wheats in noodle and snack food products.

  • Soft white (SW) wheat is used to make flour for bakery products other than bread such as cakes, crackers, cookies, pastries, quick breads, muffins, and snack foods.  SW wheats tend to be low in protein (<10%) but higher protein levels (>11%) are desired for some products such as flat breads and noodles. 

                                              (Source:  Crop and Soil)

Do I have to only store and eat Wheat? 

Heaven's no!  There are many other types of grain which include things like Spelt (which is a good substitute for those who have wheat intolerances), Amaranth, Corn, etc. I will try to highlight some of these for you later.

How do I store Wheat?

Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place

Store up off the floor so that air can circulate around the container, reducing the chance of condensation inside the buckets

Do not store wheat (grains) next to areas where there are strong odors, they can permeate through the container and cause the grain to take on the odor.

I personally use a liner in my buckets.  This is precious cargo, and I want to protect it from pest infestation.

Where do I purchase Wheat?

In our area, you have many, many options.  Here are just a few:

How much should I store per person?

Depending upon who you read, 200-300 pounds of Grains (which includes more than Wheat) per adult.  For children under 6 years of age, multiply the adult amount by .5, and for children between ages 7-9 years, multiply by .75.  (From Living Prepared)

Please remember that Wheat is only one of your grains.  Cereals, flour, rice, etc also are included in the "Grain" category.  Look at what your family eats.  Also, learn how to use Wheat in a few recipes (like making basic bread) and determine how much you need.  Just an FYI, 200 pounds of wheat is just 5 bags.  I think that sometimes we get caught up in the 'numbers' of Food Storage and get overwhelmed.  

Now, you can do 5 bags can't you?

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