Cook With the Whole Wheat in Your Storage

whole wheat

Many of us store large amounts of whole wheat, what today people call wheat berries.  Now most of us don’t cook with this on a regular basis.  So today, I want to talk about cooking with whole wheat.

Whole wheat has some real advantages for storage.  If properly packaged and left unopened, it has an optimum shelf life of 30 years or more. However, once open and ground into flour, wheat starts to loses its nutrients within a few days so only grind small amounts at a time.  I don’t recommend storing whole-wheat flour for long-term storage.

Wheat berries are easy to cook you can make a simple cereal using the following recipes.

In a pot with a fairly tight lid, combine 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of wheat. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer ½ hour.  Turn off the heat and allow the wheat to stand 8-12 hours.  Drain any remaining liquid.  It is now ready to eat.

Thermos cooked: Put wheat and 2½ cups boiling water in a quart-sized thermos. Screw the top lightly and leave until morning.

Slow cooker method: Simmer ingredients on high for approximately 2-3 hours. Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit overnight untouched

If you plan on doing baking you will definitely need a hand-crank grain mill.  No matter which kind of mill you buy, make sure it will grind many kinds of grains and legumes, including popcorn and dried beans.  I recommend the Country Living Grain Mill  or The Wonder Mill Junior

There are literally hundreds of ways to use wheat in your diet, everything from pancakes, bread to meat substitutes.  Here is an example.

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whole wheat
Wheat and bean chili made with two different types of beans

Wheat and Bean Chili

  • 1 cup uncooked dry beans
  • 1 cup uncooked wheat
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 large can (46 oz.) tomato juice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Mexican-flavored stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and paprika to taste
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. cumin

Cook wheat and beans together in one quart of water (may be soaked overnight before cooking).  Cook until almost tender.  In a separate pan, sauté meat, onions and garlic in canola or olive oil.  Drain the oil off and add to beans. Then add the other ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour. Season to taste.

Optional fresh tomatoes may be added in place of canned stewed tomatoes. Use about 8 skinned tomatoes. Adjust spices for flavor.

This recipe can be made without the meat, and will still provide you with good protein.

There are hundreds of good recipes that can be made using whole grain as a main ingredient.  Start practicing.


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5 thoughts on “Cook With the Whole Wheat in Your Storage”

  1. I went through a phase where I was eating whole wheat berries prepared in these ways for breakfast. Taste was OK, the breakfast was filling and all in all I enjoyed it. The problem was it took a lot of chewing and this caused some jaw issues. Even lunch or dinner now seemed a little uncomfortable because my jaw was still a little sore from breakfast. Second problem was my teeth. My teeth are good, I have some crowns but all works well and is in good repair. But the excessive chewing put pressure on my teeth that was in addition to the jaw issue. Hard to describe both of these issues until you experience it yourself. It might all be that we 1st world people are accustomed to a homogeneous diet that doesn’t prepare us for something like this. Anyway not to knock the wheat cereal because I liked it and would eat it again but just to let anyone know what to expect. I can imagine it would be much more difficult if your teeth were bad.

  2. It you have difficulty chewing your cooked whole grain wheat berries you aren’t cooking them long enough. In fact, it doesn’t take a very long time to have them cooked down to an unpalatable goo that can be slurped.
    Whole grain (uncracked) rye berries are also very good simmered.

    Hangtown Frank

  3. I think you missed the point. I do agree that it is possible to grind/crack and cook enough that it becomes a gelatinous goo. BUT if you cook it as described it will be a relatively soft and chewy even “nutty” dish. BUT it will require far more chewing then you are accustomed to. If you are unaware of this I can only conclude you haven’t tried it yet. A case of the unknown unknowns. The point is for anyone, people with good teeth and people with bad teeth, this change in diet may not be sustainable. Ironically I was eating breakfast when I read the replies and almost choked on my chewy cooked cracked oats. Take my advice, try the diet for a month or two and if you don’t see any problems then consider yourselves lucky. My hope is to forewarn anyone who is eating toast or boxed cereal for breakfast that wheat berries are not the same as what you are used to.

    On a related story and one that is useful for anyone planning to survive the apocolypse; There was a documentary on TV, a man from the U.S. with two or three Africans spent some time in the bush living like a native African. His food for the entire trip was corn meal cooked as mush and bush meat when they found it. One of his revelations was that the Western physiology wasn’t ready for this. He couldn’t eat as much of the cooked corn as the Africans did and he sufferred because of it. Their stomachs and intestines were adapted from birth to eating roughly twice as much because their food was half as nutritious. He had trouble eating a cup or two of the cooked meal while his African friends were eating four cups of it. During the entire trip he was still not able to adapt and would not have survived on that diet.

  4. My 82 year old body has been eating simmered whole grain wheat & rye several times per week for more than a year. It has caused me no gastric or chewing problems. And, when I cook too much of it I sometimes mix it into beans of pancake batter to use it up. For me, it is just the same as cooking and eating brown rice. I like it!

    Having said that I have relatives that can’t eat it unless it is in the form of bleached white flour.

    SO – guess the message here is – experiment with eating your emergency foods frequently BEFORE you need to.

    Hangtown Frank

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