The Pros and Cons of Storing and Using Wheat

Wheat is one of the easiest and cheapest foods to store.  It provides lots of calories and good nutrients.  If you are gluten intolerant, you will want to store different types of grains.  Under the right conditions, wheat stores well for many years.  Wheat found in the tomes of the Egyptian Pharaohs still sprouted.

There are several different types of wheat, but the best for storage is the hard red or hard white spring or winter wheat.  Hard wheat’s are small hard grains with a higher protein value (12-14% protein).  They make excellent bread because they tend to have high gluten content.  Wheat for storage should contain less than 10% moisture.

I have been involved with storing wheat for over 45 years.  My parents still have wheat that is in good shape that has been stored in metal friction topped 5 gallon cans since the 1960’s.  At that time, the only attempt they made at preserving it was to put bay leaves in the cans.  This wheat has been stored under low temperatures.

More recently improved methods of storage have been developed; my personal favorite is to use metal cans or Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.  There is a post on canning grains.  We also have a post on sealing grains in Mylar bags.  Both of these posts will be useful if you are storing wheat.

I strongly recommend that you store wheat as wheat berries and not as flour.  The shelf life of flour is much shorter and it loses it nutrients much quicker.

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Most people think mainly of bread when thinking of ways to use wheat flour, in reality there are numerous ways to use whole wheat.  Esther Dickey’s book Passport to Survival has over 100 recipes made from wheat.  This includes making a meal substitute similar to TVP from gluten.  Wheat can also be sprouted into wheat grass to provide vitamin C.  You will need to have a wheat grinder.  Get a good quality one.

If you are storing wheat, I strongly suggest that you use it in your everyday diet.  A sudden shift to a large amount of wheat in your diet can play havoc with your digestive system.


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2 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Storing and Using Wheat”

  1. Before I found out that storing flour isn’t the best, I had some white bread flour in a plastic bucket/mylar/O2 absorber for a couple years. So I decided to use it, got a normal rise in my bread machine, tasted ok, don’t know about nutrition value but it didn’t kill me. If it was the beginning of a collapse and all I could get was a couple years worth of flour, I’d go for it. Your mileage may vary.

  2. David, I agree. Properly (canned & o2 absorber) stored wheat flour, particularly white flour can last up to 10 years. However, the same properly stored wheat berries last at least 30 years, and often much, much longer. Flour, just in the bag and protected from weevils, easily last two years on the shelf. Generally over time food, especially grain, loses nutrient value and taste may go “off” but it won’t poison you, it may fill a hungry stomach and provide calories long after the vitamin content deteriorates.

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