Wheat Food Storage – Varieties Of Berries
Wheat is the most common grain consumed in the United States. Wheat food storage (in the form of wheat berries, prior to being milled into flour) is also one of the primary dry foods kept by the preparedness-minded for “just in case”.
One reason that wheat is an ideal choice for food storage is because wheat has a very long shelf life if stored properly (decades). The ‘goodness’ (nutrition) remains locked up in the wheat (wheat berries) awaiting the day that you mill it (grind it into flour).
There’s more than one kind of wheat. You may have heard some of the name variations – varieties. Here’s a short and simple explanation…
Hard Wheat versus Soft Wheat
The kernels of Hard wheat are hard. The Hard wheat kernel is also smaller than that of Soft wheat.
Hard wheat has higher protein because it has a higher gluten content (gluten is a protein). By the way, Gluten helps dough to rise. It helps trap the fermentation gases that result from adding yeast.
The kernels of Soft wheat are (you guessed it…), soft. Soft wheat kernels are also larger than Hard wheat kernels.
The Soft wheat variety has less gluten content. It’s not quite as good at rising a loaf of bread. However, it is preferably used in pastries, pastas, and cereals.
Tip: You can add our own gluten while making / baking your own bread. This is also high in protein.
Vital Wheat Gluten
(view on amzn)
Spring Wheat versus 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. It grows in the summer, and is harvested in the fall.
Red Wheat versus White Wheat
Most of the Hard wheat varieties are Red wheat.
Most of the Soft wheat varieties are White wheat.
Having said that, there is a Hard White variety of wheat. It 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.
Most Common Wheat Food Storage
Hard Red Wheat
The most common variety of wheat found in prepper’s wheat food storage is Hard Red wheat (spring or winter).
I believe this is because of the higher protein content, which is typically 12% or more. However Hard White wheat also has the same long-term storage benefits.
My own inventory of wheat berries include both Hard Red Wheat as well as Hard White Wheat. I do like the White variety better for bread making.
Here’s some grown in Utah and Idaho, sourced directly from family farmers. No additives, Non GMO.
25 Pound Pail
Of course you can source Wheat Berries yourself in bulk and then package it yourself. You may or may not save some money this way depending on the cost of pails, Mylar bag inserts, Oxygen absorbers, and your time. I’ve bought it both ways (do-it-yourself, and, professionally packaged).
Shelf Life – How Long Do Wheat Berries Last
The manufacturers of most pre-packaged pails of wheat berries say 25 year shelf life. I’ll bet it’s longer than that, assuming it’s packaged properly and stored in an ideal environment.
I believe my oldest buckets right now are about 12 years old…so I’m not even halfway there yet. I have always kept them in a cool environment. Time will tell!
The following are a number of related articles that may be of interest:
Oxygen Absorbers For 5-Gallon Food Storage
How to Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5-gallon bucket
How Much Wheat In A 5 Gallon Bucket – Pounds, Calories, Loaves Of Bread
‘Diatomaceous Earth’ For Long Term Storage Of Wheat Berries, Grain, In 5-Gallon Buckets
Funny to see your post today on the wheat, yesterday I got out my country living mill and cracked some hard red berries for cereal and ground about 25 cups of fine flour for bread making. I also cracked some oat groats for cereal as well. Wheat and oats from 2011.
I did put a half horse electric motor on with an extra shaft and pulleys to run it to about a hundred rpm.
Yes, I was looking at my wheat storage the other day which made me think of this. I started out in the beginning with hard red. Then later switched to hard white which we both thought tasted better for bread. Mrs.J adds a bit of gluten per loaf. A tablespoon or two? Anyway, regardless of the variety, wheat berry storage is one of our ‘staple’ preparedness foods in long-term inventory.
The Country Living Mill is awesome. I’ve had it for years…
Consider some oats as well. I still do not have a oat flaker. Anybody have one? I cannot decide which one to buy. The Grain Maker could grind oats of course, but would be more of a gruel than cereal/oatmeal.
In my opinion coarsely ground oats make a more flavorful oatmeal than the commercially prepared flakes in my experience. I lightly pan toast the groats on the stovetop until they’re fragrant and mill them with the stones set for a very coarse grind. I then stir the coarsely ground meal into boiling water (salt optional) and cook with frequent stirs for about 20 minutes. If you use the ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part meal by volume you’ll get a porridge just as thick or thicker than you would from flaked oats because there will be some finely ground oat ‘flour’ mixed in with the coarser pieces. Quality oat flakers are not cheap but I am therefore I’ll mill my oatmeal saving a few dollars and adding one more use to an appliance I already have.
Can the anyone link to a reliable hand powered grain grinder?
I saw one in a Mother Earth (I prefer Father God, but to each his own) that was like $600 bucks but made in Montana?
Can a decent grinder be had for $100? $200? That is hopefully not made in chiney?
That price is way out of my league.
Thanks for the good content here.
Brooklyn, I do not know of one and finances are certainly a huge consideration for many. Keep in mind though, you will get what you pay for and if the grinder is expected to do a good job long term, save up and buy the best you can. The burrs that grind the grain are important as well as the gear system. I have the Montana Grain Maker, it was a present. Lifetime on the burrs. Good luck. Maybe check some auction sites or Amazon where they have good reviews.
I purchased one from a flour mill, and it was a no name brand made in Utah. It was around $130 a couple of years ago. I would check your area for flour mills, and see what they carry. Maybe they can recommend one in your price range.
The ‘Grain Maker’ is a nice set up but last I heard they are back logged. You have to get on their list to receive one.
Ms U AC
Thanks for your kindness.
I saw those Corona grinders made in Columbia and they were around $70 bucks but then I read the reviews.
I will save my money for something a little more robust. I have a friend across town who is from Poland and his mother has some old soviet era grain mill that looks like it could crush a limousine…ha ha
You guys have no idea how lucky you are to live in red state freedom. I am in Brooklyn only for the fat paycheck and the killer pizza is a nice byproduct too.
2 more years I am off to explore red state relocation.
Look at the deluxe mill in the link ken has above. I have used one for years.
I have others now but it ran about 75.00 and worked great
That grainmaker mill is excellent, worth every penny.
Lehmans makes a decent grinder, isnt too expensive, they are good folks too.
Almost any grinder will do in a pinch, make do with what ya have eh,,,
If you are going to really use it regularly though, i would buy a good mill.
Retzel also makes excellent grain mills
That looks like the one I purchased at the flour mill store. It has metal burrs for grinding the berries, did not put the one I purchased through the test phase, but the one they have for display. Customers are allowed to see how well it works on the berries by giving it test spin.
I will have to look they may be stone burrs after all…It is packed away for the jic. Plan on making a trip off the mountain, will stop by and see what they have in stock.
Been thinking about picking up extras for Christmas presents, since one never knows what should be placed under the tree.
A few years ago……not really one of THOSE stories…….I searched Craigslist for “hand grain mill”. Found one. ONE. not a hundred. Out of Florida. $25. Same one today, on Craigslist, is $400. Moral of this story: Keep looking. Do not give up. I hate to say it…..because I really hate the site…..but, Fakebook has a decent section for not only stuff for sale, but free stuff. I, personally, would rather deal with Mrs. McIllhaney, or whomever, down the street that has one and can’t or hasn’t used it in a hundred years. And she’ll probably tell you a thousand ways to make things with it. Muck Schmuckerberg doesn’t know what a grain mill is. Or what it’s used for. Hang around real people……you’ll solve more problems and get far better ideas.
That is how I found my electric grain mill, it is loud when you fire it up. Reminds me of a jet engine preparing for take off.😂
Scanned the craigslist last evening for the fun of it. Found an electric unit, it appears to be an older unit. Shall give my friend a heads up that is is available as she purchases the fresh ground flour. She has the berries set aside, when I have time I take my unit over and we fire up that jet engine.
I just picked up some spelt last week for us to try. I had purchased Einkorn in the past, but one family member is allergic to it.
Keep stacking it to the rafters. I do think trouble is coming.
Great article Ken, good refresher too, stuff i forget, then see again and am ah, oh right!
The different berries really are different, the fine grind or if you sift out bran etc all make big differences, wheatberries are my largest item in my buckets, it doesnt grow out here, well, it grows but drying it down is the problem, usually mildews.
If you reside in an area where there are Win co stores, you may wish to check their preparedness area for wheat berries. Found NON gmo berries in the Red & White hard variety located in this store, sold in 25lb bags.
That is first in a long time, happen to be looking for rice when I came across these items.
They did have rice, but not what I would normally purchase, besides the basket was getting heavy with my find of the day. 😉