Is All Wheat The Same?
Wheat is one of the staple foods that preppers keep in their food storage and is the most common grain consumed in the United States. One reason that it is chosen for emergency food storage is because wheat will ‘keep’ for a very long time if stored properly (decades). The ‘goodness’ remains in the wheat berry until it’s time to mill it.
Because there is more than just one kind of wheat, it is common to wonder which wheat to store, and what’s the difference… Which wheat do prepper’s store ?
Wheat comes in different varieties… each of them better in one way or another for its purpose.
The most common wheat varieties are…
Hard Wheat / Soft Wheat
Hard wheat has a kernel that is smaller than soft wheat. It is very hard and has a higher gluten content. Gluten is a protein. It helps the dough to rise by trapping the fermentation gases that come from the added yeast. Conversely, wheat that is lower in gluten content doesn’t make as good a rising loaf of bread, but it still works… The important thing to know is that hard wheat has more protein content.
Soft wheat has larger and softer kernels than hard wheat. Soft wheat has less gluten content but is preferably used in pastries, pastas, and cereals.
Spring Wheat / Winter Wheat
Winter wheat is planted in the fall, it grows over winter and is harvested the following summer. Spring wheat is planted in the spring, grows in the summer, and is harvested in the fall.
Red Wheat / White Wheat
Red wheat amounts to most of the hard wheat varieties while white wheat amounts to most of the soft wheat varieties. Having said that, there is such a variety as hard white wheat, and is a compromise widely chosen for making bread because of the opinion that it tastes a bit better than bread made from hard red wheat.
The most common variety of wheat used in food storage is hard red wheat (spring or winter), because of the high protein content, which typically is 12% or more. Hard white wheat has the same long-term storage benefits as hard red wheat.
A good food storage survival preparedness plan includes an amount of wheat stored for the long term. I personally keep both hard red and hard white wheat, sometimes mixing the two when making breads, etc.
Don’t forget that you will also need a mill. And if you’re planning for life without electricity, you’ll need a hand mill. If you can afford the luxury, you might consider an electric mill and a hand mill. Reason being, the hand mill certainly is more difficult to use (takes longer and lots of elbow grease) while the electric mill will enable you to more readily get in the habit of using wheat to make breads (because it’s easier).
There are health benefits to procuring your own wheat and making breads from scratch, without additives, etc. It will also promote learning recipes how to make breads and other things from wheat, which you will need to know how to do if TSHTF. Also, DO PRACTICE with your hand mill, despite the effort