Why Wheat

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I expect to get a lot of responses from this question which I am sure to many will seem stupid, but why are you buying wheat and not flour.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), January 10, 1999


Linda: Flour has almost zero nutritional value. They have removed the germ which contains all the nutrients so it bakes better looking bread. Wheat if sprouted before eaten is a complete food that one could live on for a long time. Don't forget to buy Vitamin C ( crystals only ) to prevent scurvy. One quarter teaspoon a day for an adult will prevent your teeth falling out in the absence of fresh fruit. Only crystals will keep longer than a year. Ask any ex-hippie how to sprout wheat.

-- Garry Whitman (whitman@brightok.net), January 10, 1999.

Hi Linda:

Garry's answer is part right and part wrong.

"Why wheat?" (or, more correctly, why wheat berries?) -- because a long time ago a Mormon group struggled with finding the most nutritious but easiest way for their people to store food. They determined that a storage of whole wheat berries, salt, dried milk, and honey had the potential to provide "complete" nutrition in a palatable form, that could be readily purchased and stored by your average Joe. The legacy of that work remains with us today as the injunction to "buy wheat berries!"

Yes, wheat berries can be sprouted. Yes, vitamin C is vital to nutrition, health, and survival -- but if you're growing and eating wheat berry sprouts, you're getting lots and lots of Vit C from them, and probably won't absolutely require the suppliment.

HOWEVER, flour is NOT devoid of nutrients -- or else everyone who ate white bread would starve and die. White flour like you buy at the supermarket is "enriched" (read the label) with various nutrient additives -- Garry, don't get upset -- but these are a far cry from nutrients in their pristine "original" direct-from-nature form.

BUT, the most important consideration for me is: will the kids eat it.

Actually, the hubby is more particular and picky on his food habits than the kids are. He was raised (honestly) on donuts and sugar cereal and white bread, and at 50 still has all his teeth! Go figure!

Anyway, it seems to me that you could have a lifetime supply of wheat berries, acres of nutritious sprouts, but it your family refuses to eat the stuff, you might as well have stored nothing.

I am storing, and have stored for years, the food my family eats. I've probably got about 25# of wheat berries, because I LIKE THEM. We also have a small field of wheat growing in an old pasture -- just in case we ever have to rely on the stuff. The rest of our flour is white, cornmeal, rye, and a few small oddments.

It is stored in 5 gallon buckets we scrounged from behind a fast-food store (had old cooking grease in it), and cleaned out. The flour was put into the buckets, still in the original store-bought paper sacks, then frozen hard for a week. Then I left it to go to room temperature for a month, then refroze for two weeks. If there were any buggies in the stuff to start with, they are gonners.

Last week, during our 5-day power outage (which made me think of the reassurances that "y2k-caused power outages will last a maximum of 72 hours"), I opened a pail that had been sealed in 1995. No bugs. Slight musty odor.

My daughter baked chocolate cake. Nobody complained!

Anita E.

-- Anita Evangelista (ale@townsqr.com), January 10, 1999.

Linda A, Thanks for asking this question. I have been wondering about this, too!!!

Anita, Thanks for your response. I have been wanting to store some store bought flour, but wasn't sure how to store it. I'll give it a try now!!!!

-- Gina (gngdecker@ckt.net), January 10, 1999.

Anita, are you the same person that wrote several books that I have seen at the Amazon.com. Thank you for the response about wheat. I can now start buying flour. For those of you looking for buckets, I received this tip from another forum. Ask at your local bakery. The frosting comes in a 5 gallon bucket.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), January 10, 1999.


Your response was welcome news to those of us trying to figure out how to put together a pantry. At first I was going to go with all wheat berries. Now I think I'll go with a combo of wheat flour and berries. I'll use the flour first and save the berries for longer term. With all that we may have to end up doing for ourselves I was not looking forward to all that grinding.

One question. Your response does not mention long term storage of wheat flour. Are you of the opinion that wheat flour would store as long as white flour based on your freeze and refreeze method?


-- Bob Benson (appysys@inreach.com), January 10, 1999.

Wheat flour, especially whole wheat from healthfood stores, is not treated to prevent rancidity, and, after time will probably develop some serious off-flavors. This is less likely to be life-threatening if you eat it, than it is to be something so nasty-smelling that you wouldn't WANT to eat it. Wheat germ, the "healthy" part, contains Vit E oil (plus other good stuff), and that is what goes off over time.

How much time?

Depends. If the product is kept in cool storage (i.e., below 50 degrees, and cooler is better), it will keep longer.

Supermarket "whole wheat" has usually been "conditioned" (or some other interesting term) which means the oils have been removed so it can keep for a loooonnnnggg time. Some brands of flour have added preservatives (BHT/BHA/citrates), but if they do it will be on the label.....these will keep until archeologists dig them up.

Once again, keep cool -- and the less exposure the product has to free oxygen, the better it will keep.

The freezing/thawing treatment is to eliminate bugs more than anything else.

One of the benefits of wheat berries is that they do store those fat-soluble vitamins for extended periods in a form that doesn't go off....taste better, better for you.

Anita E.

PS: Amazon.com -- yes.

-- Anita Evangelista (ale@townsqr.com), January 10, 1999.


Thanks for the follow up. I think I'll go with a 3/9 plan, 3 months worth of wheat flour and 9 months worth of wheat berries all of which I plan to purchase over the next couple of months. This means I have to hope the wheat flour will keep about a year. I'll use the wheat flour occasionally throughout the rest of 1999 so I can monitor its freshness. If things are stressful early in 2000 I think it will be nice to have the flour without having to do the grinding. If the flour goes bad I still have the 9 months of berries.


-- Bob Benson (appysys@inreach.com), January 10, 1999.

Anita, what about the wheat germ you can buy in the grocery store in glass jars? Will this keep(if unopened) and be good to add to your white flour for more nutrition?

Since Anita is too modest, I will tell you she has written several good books on food storage and I for one am on the way to buying at least one of them. (No, I don't know her,never met her,and make no profit from her sales!)

-- sue (deco100@aol.com), January 10, 1999.

Go to www.amazon.com and search for "Anita Evangelista." Her 2 books that I bought...."How to Develop a Low-Cost Family Food-Storage System" and "How to Live Without Electricity-And Like It" are terrific! They should be ordered NOW before many more people find out about them...oops...the rush is already on....both are backordered...get your order in soon!

Thanks, Anita.


-- Mercy (prepare@now.com), January 10, 1999.

Does anyone have or know of a cookbook telling many ways to use wheat? Would appreciate any information. Thanks, Gene on Cape Cod

-- Gene on Cape Cod (carvgene@gis.net), January 10, 1999.


I bought wheat berries and did not know what to do with them. In keeping with the rotation policy we hold here, we decided to actually eat the stuff.

Lets see. Stone and Pestal will wear out our teeth. So I bought a grain grinder. I ground some wheat into flour. Now what? Took flour to wife(who only buys bread at store) to bake some bread. The bread looked and tasted like dog droppings.

Well, we bought a COOKBOOK. We used it and now we eat wonderful whole wheat bread which is much better for us. I think the key to good tasting food is cooking it correctly. That leaves me out. Anyhow, we have altered our eating habits and now eat whole wheat bread that we make. It is no doubt better for us and all that.

Suggestions: you should buy a bread maker. Sure, if the power goes off it will be no good but until then you will get your moneys worth out of it. Also should look into electric grinder. My wifes forearms are getting bigger and bigger as she is using a hand grinder. This is not good for me as I have to really what what I say around her now, dont want her to clobber me.

Im sticking with wheat berries. ww


To Gene on Cape Cod:

This is one of the best books for using wheat:

Cookin' With Home Storage by Vicki Tate

I'm very glad that I bought my copy, and I recommend it to anyone who is storing a lot of dry goods in order to make the best use of them.

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, Utah USA) (Max.Dixon@gte.net), January 10, 1999.


Be a man and take some turns on the grinder. :-) It's good self protection!

I haven't picked out my grinder yet. Are you happy with the one you got and how long have you been using it?


-- Bob Benson (appysys@inreach.com), January 10, 1999.


I have been grinding wheat also and it has made me a better man;-)

I hate that manual grinder, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Its hard work. Take my advise. Get one of those griders that you can hook up to a bike. Trust me. (could someone else tell us what that kinda grinder is?).

My grinder is a Schislidinder something or another. I bought it because I really wanted a grinder bad. It cost me lots of money. $180. worth of money.

When you buy a grinder, make sure that it has a large hopper. Its a pain to feed grain into a small hopper every 3 min..

On a serious note: I intend on buying an electic grinder, I still work to many hours and my ROI would be a matter of weeks. I have been told that a "whisper mill" electic grinder is a good buy. Around $300 or so. ww


I have the Millennium Mill from Stortite in Oregon. Got very good delivery (12 days) in early December. The flywheel is grooved for use with a V-belt.

Storing only wheat seems unnecessarily boring. Why not keep also brown rice and various types of beans? They'e no more trouble to store safely, and in fact provide a balanced diet as well as a bit of variety.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), January 10, 1999.

Wayne, Tom:

Thanks for the feedback. You guys saved me some research time and I appreciate it.

Wayne, Tom's Mill Mill looks like it addresses some of the problems you have with your brand. I'm going to move the Mill Mill to the top of my list list.

Tom, I completely agree with your variety suggestion. We are going the wheat, beans and rice route, toot toot! Going to add some corn for good measure. Maybe Vicki Tate's book has a recipie for corn tortillas.

I'll say this much, as a programmer/analyst with 25+ years of experience in the coding trenches I expect Y2K to be very bad, but whether it is or not, I'll always be very thankful for the skills I picked up while preparing for this event and for the people that took the time to post things that helped educate me.


-- Bob Benson (appysys@inreach.com), January 11, 1999.

for Linda who posted the ? . Wheat in it's whole form will store for ever. With that said why not get it Au Natural?!?! BUT the down side is it is a REAL pain in the BUTTOCKS( thank you Forest) to mill it. SO we wait till we need need nasty stuff then we pay the piper and fire up our arm and crunch the stuff of.


-- nine (nine_fingers@hotmail.com), January 11, 1999.

tortillas, chapatis and other flat breads are the easiest thing to make, though yeast breads are a real treat if homemade. tortillas are easy, have made them myself for years, and are healthy and filling. Corn/wheat chapatis (tortillas) with some beans are a complete protein. Anyway, for tortillas, take equal amounts of flour, and corn, and mix them with water until they form the proper consistency. ( not too sticky, will roll out properly,etc.) Then, roll/press/pound out until fairly thin. Put in pan/hot rock/griddle, etc and cook. that easy! I tried all corn, but never got good results- fell apart too easily, etc. so i do the half corn/half flour and it works all the time.

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), January 11, 1999.

All us SoCal denizens might do well to learn how to make tortillas. Certainly be the most logical food staple for this neck of the woods...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.com), January 11, 1999.

Forgot to mention, unless it's not obvious. The corn has to be very fine-flour consistency (called masa flour). Also, consider other types of grains. Granted, they won't make yeast breads, because of the lack of glute, but for cooking, soups, stews, one pot meals, flat breads, etc. they all work well. These are the grains that are used in developing countries, and they are used primarily because they can be grown in poor soil, less room, etc. Things such as millett, amaranth, and other seed grains are all great things to begin learning to use.

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), January 12, 1999.

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