This is one installment of a ten-part series.
#8 Hair-Pulling, Eye Rolling Prepper Mistake: Storing massive amounts of grains but forgetting to also purchase a grinder.
There are varying suggestions available on the ‘net for how much you should store in terms of grains. For this article, we will look to the food storage gurus of old. According to the LDS food storage calculator, a family of five should store approximately 675 pounds of wheat a year. That does not include flour, oats, cornmeal, rice, or pasta.
Why would you want to store wheat in the first place? Why not just many, many, MANY pounds of flour? Storing flour is convenient, cheap, and easy. (At the risk of being a little sexist, we’ll say just like many men would want their first date to be.) Storing mass quantities of flour presents a few challenges. The most important of which is shelf life. The shelf life of commercially packaged long term storage flour is only about eight years with regular packaging being significantly shorter, at only about eight months if tightly wrapped in the cabinet. There are several recipes for making use of actual wheat berries. This is a great way to introduce more nutrients into your life, as the best part of wheat is stored in the hull. There is always a concern of infestation or the possibility of mice of other rodents finding your stash. Wheat, on the other hand is more naturally repellant to infestation as well as having an extremely long shelf life, up to thirty years if commercially packaged with an oxygen absorber. Wheat is reported to have been found in the pyramids and was actually able to be sprouted after its discovery in recent times.
We will be upfront with you and say that grinding wheat is a lot of work when done manually with a non-electric grinder. You can purchase an electric grinder at greater expense, providing that you have a way to power your gadget sans electricity in a post apocalyptic scenario. Electric mills tend to be significantly larger in price and physical size than a manual type. This can create a quandary for those who have limited amounts of storage space with a smaller budget. It may be more difficult to achieve a finer grind with a manual grinder, but this can be accomplished by grinding the product twice.
Learning to grind your own wheat may require a little practice to get from wheat berries to a finished loaf of bread. But we all know that preparedness types acquire new “hobbies” like a mangy old dog gets fleas. You can make it a family affair while everyone gets a turn on the grinder crank. Pounding wheat between rocks isn’t recommended, as the problem with shrapnel from stones is another story for another day. The moral of the story: Don’t forget to buy a wheat grinder!