Whole wheat or berries are easy to store and can be purchased quite inexpensively. I don’t know where the term wheat berry came from, for years they were just called whole wheat. But things change. The internet describes a wheat berry or wheatberry as an entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Wheat berries are a great food to store but there are downsides, mainly in the learning curve of how to us them. First let’s talk about the advantages of storing whole wheat
Whole wheat is inexpensive, yesterday I was at an LDS Cannery and they were selling number 10 cans of whole wheat for $2.75. Thier wheat is packaged for long-term storage. It is even cheaper than rice and beans.
Wheat stored correctly will last for 20 – 30 years. It needs to be properly package to protect it from oxygen and moisture. High temperature will destroy the gluten forming properties that causes bread to rise.
Wheat is very versatile and can be used for many things besides bread. Esther Dickey’s book Passport to Survival while a bit dated shows dozens of way to use it. You can even make a gluten meat substitute from it.
Wheat is a healthy food providing plenty of fiber and lots of nutrients. Dietary fiber from whole wheat may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as whole wheat help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Whole wheat is rich in b vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, folate acid and iron as well as many other minerals and nutrients.
Whole wheat can be sprouted which gives you a good source of vitamin C. I have sprouted wheat that was 20 years old. Wheat that was found stored in the tomes of the pharaohs has been sprouted. Wheat that is improperly stored will often fail to sprout. Now this does not necessarily make the wheat bad. It will still provide calories and a substantial amount of nutrients.
The worse stored wheat that I have encountered was still useful. It could have been eaten by humans in a real emergency. But we chose to feed it to chickens and they loved it.
The downside to storing wheat is that you do need a wheat grinder. The best ones will grind very fine flour. The more inexpensive ones will only make course flour. Get the best one you can afford.
Because whole wheat is high in fiber some people who live on a low fiber diet have trouble adapting to a diet high in wheat. This is a good reason to eat what you store.
You need to learn to cook with whole wheat to be able to take full advantage of its versatility. This can be a bit of a learning curve. To help you with this we will publish some posts on recipes for cooking with whole wheat.
Remember whole wheat is only a part of a well balanced food storage plan. But it can be an important part.