HomePosts Tagged "food storage" (Page 3)

So you have this prepping thing down, right? You have plenty of supplies to weather any contingency and there isn’t much left that you haven’t purchased or thought of. You and your family have every base covered, every T crossed and your stuff doesn’t stink. Congratulations! Now, you have joined an elite group of people who have stuff. Now what?

Prepping is unique from the perspective that some people get all caught up in the initial rush of the act of prepping. They devour news and information. They study the issues and scenarios, make plans, lists and begin the path to being a more prepared person. At some point though the newness wears off. Either that or the sense of urgency doesn’t seem as strong as it once did.

When Preppers believe that they can finally sit back and relax that is when we can become complacent. If we let this go on long enough we aren’t going to be too much better than someone who hasn’t prepped at all. If you let your guard down or think you are “finished” you can make mistakes that could affect your family or your group adversely and we never want that to happen. Above most other things, we don’t want to waste the time and energy and focus you placed into prepping in the first place.

Forgetting to Rotate your supplies

Most of us acquire our food from several different routes. It is wise to have a good mix of long-term storable foods like dehydrated or freeze dried food that can last years. Then we have food that has a few years shelf life like grains or canned vegetables (just speaking in generalities here) and perhaps MRE’s and Mainstay bars to add into the mix. Lastly we have our store bought foods that you can purchase at the local grocery store and then the freezer and fridge. It is easy to see a stocked pantry and sit back with contentment about how you are preparing to feed your family. I know because I have fallen into this trap also. The food you have stored is great, but you have to rotate all of it to truly have the longest shelf-life and highest capacity for nutrition.

Foods from the grocery store are the easiest to apply this principle to, but the mechanics aren’t always the best. Any foods you purchase should be used and resupplied with the FIFO process. FIFO simply stands for First In First Out. Pretty simple and every realizes this, right?

I have found that this isn’t as simple as it sounds without either a great system or a lot of discipline. When you go to the grocery store to purchase more groceries, what do you do with your newest cans? Do you have a system to put the newest in the back and move the oldest to the front? If you are storing canned food, there are simple solutions that can be purchased or built using plans online called a rotator. The process is brilliantly simple and removes almost any thought and effort from the whole FIFO equation. You simply add your new cans to the rotator and they force the old cans out to the front. These are great if you have them, but if you don’t. you need to have a system for rotating your cans or else you might have a pantry full of bad fruit and veggies that nobody will eat or worse. A drawback is that these systems are fairly expensive.

What if you don’t have a fancy can rotating system? There are relatively inexpensive cardboard options from Can Organizer that I am going to purchase and I will write up a review on those later. Optionally, you could just have the discipline to add your cans and reshuffle the stock after every grocery trip. This takes more time, but it is free and doesn’t take up any space.

Along with this is regularly checking for stores that are expiring. I know that a lot of dates are more like guidelines, but you still don’t want to have a lot of medicine that is out of date by two years if the SHTF. Ideally, everything would be fresh so those big mega packs of vitamins and aspirin you purchased need to be rotated out with fresh supplies.

Forgetting to resupply

How many of you have taken your First Aid kit along with you on a camping trip and had to use it? This has happened to me and I was thankful I had the supplies I needed to treat minor injuries. I think the people who I treated appreciated it also, but what happens when you use supplies? They need to be resupplied.

If you are using your preps, that is great for a lot of reasons. You are prepared for contingencies first of all and gaining practice and familiarity with your provisions. Don’t make the mistake of using all of your rice and not buying anymore though. If a storm comes along and you have to use your spare propane tank, make sure you get a replacement as soon as it is feasible. If you have used your spare gas to fuel the lawnmower, go get that back up tank filled the next time you are out.

Not knowing how to use your preps

This is probably the biggest mistake we can make because it can cause us to act recklessly in the future. Let’s say you purchased a big new yacht and you took it out for its maiden voyage, would you want to know how to work the lifeboats or would you just be content that they were sitting right there on the deck? Sure having life boats is great, but if your new toy hits an iceberg in the middle of the night and you are up there trying to read the user manual when you are tired, scared, maybe its raining too, will you regret anything?

Tools are necessary I believe and they have a place in everyone’s preps. Would it be ideal if you were Bear Grylls and could just use your survival mirror to catch some twigs on fire to survive? Yes, but knowing how to use your striker or even a lighter to build a fire in the first place is important too.

A lot of us have purchased a grain mill and hundreds of pounds of hard red winter wheat, but have you ever ground that wheat into flour and cooked with it? I have and for starters I was surprised at just how long it takes and I have a pretty decent mill. Maybe I was doing this wrong, but I had to run everything though the mill a couple of times and keep adjusting the grinding stones so that the consistency of the flour was right. This may not be a life or death lesson, but I did learn more about grinding than I thought I knew going into it. The same could be said for canning. If you buy a dozen cases of Ball canning jars and lids and a big old pot, but you have never canned, you may be in for a rude awakening. We have had a couple  canning mishaps that caused us to eat more veggies than we were planning on, but it taught us invaluable lessons. Like, don’t start canning red beets in a pressure cooker at 10 at night if you plan on sleeping anytime soon.

If you have firearms but haven’t ever been to the range to become proficient with them, they may end up being worthless to you when you need them. When you really need a firearm, you want to know how it works instinctively. Can you feel if the safety is on even in pitch black darkness? Do you know how to reload or clear a jam without looking at your firearm?

I and others have called Prepping a lifestyle and I believe that if you live life by using your preps instead of just buying them and throwing them in a plastic bin under the stairs you will be better prepared for whatever comes your way.

If you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comments below.

So you have this prepping thing down, right? You have plenty of supplies to weather any contingency and there isn’t much left that you haven’t purchased or thought of. You

One of the first things that people tackle when beginning to prepare for emergencies is food storage, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more to it than stacking buckets of wheat in the garage or stockpiling bottled water.

If you’re going to take the time and money to prepare for the unexpected, get informed about the do’s and don’ts of proper food storage. Here are 5 mistakes that preppers often make when starting to build their emergency food supply, and how to fix them.

Storing food you don’t like, or don’t know how to prepare

Many people will buy a bucket of wheat, throw it in the closet, and call it a day. But they don’t know how to turn that wheat into bread, or if they’ll even like it if they do. Make sure you store food that you eat on a regular basis. Try making a loaf of bread from some wheat one day (you’ll feel like a superhero, promise), and use those dry beans and rice in your everyday meals. That way, when the day comes and you need to survive off your food storage, it doesn’t flip your world upside down. In an emergency, eating food that you’re already used to is beneficial to your mental health. Don’t add to the stress of such a situation by suddenly having to prepare and eat food that is completely new to you.

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Rice and beans are a prepper staple and a great option for emergency food storage, but make sure you have variety or family might balk.

And if you choose to buy pre-packaged emergency kits, many companies sell samples of the meals that are included, so you can give them a taste before you stock up. Use the same rule of thumb here too, and rotate a packaged dinner into your meal planning every couple of weeks, so you’re used to preparing and eating your food storage. Using these pantry staples will also cut down on your grocery bill, too, which is a great added bonus.

Storing food improperly

Are you stockpiling cans in the attic or out in shed? Almost any food that you plan on storing for longer than 6 months should be kept at stable temperatures and humidity levels, which makes both of those places poor options. A cool, dark place like a basement can work great, but be careful if your basement is damp or prone to flooding. The best location for your food storage is on the main level of your home, where the temperature and moisture levels are controlled. Also, try not to keep all your eggs in one basket – have several different locations where you can store food, in case one area becomes compromised.

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Food would ideally be stored in a cool, dark place like a basement

Also make sure that your food storage is packaged in a way that deters pests and moisture. Buckets and #10 cans are great ways to store long-lasting food supplies. Food packaged in their original boxes or bags can work fine as long as they are rotated and used regularly – just keep an eye on those expiration dates and make sure your storage area isn’t accessible to mice or other pests.

Not having enough variety in your storage

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Both for the sake of flavor as well as nutrition, make sure that you store a wide variety of food in your supply. Many novices stock up on carbohydrates like wheat and rice but forget to include other essentials. Make sure you’re covering all the necessary food groups – there are a lot of great ways to store protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables as part of your storage staples. You can easily purchase freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and even meat in #10 cans or buckets, and dry milk is a great way to make sure your dairy needs are met. Pre-packaged meals also offer an easy way to incorporate variety into your food storage.

Forgetting “the little things”

Things like salt, spices, oil, and condiments make food storage more enjoyable to eat, and baking ingredients such as baking powder, yeast, and eggs are essential to cooking even the most basic recipes from your supplies. Some of these things can be purchased in long-lasting forms, but a great way to make sure you have them on hand is to simply buy a little extra each time you shop. Next time you need a bottle of vegetable oil, just buy an extra and put it with your food storage. Little by little, you can build up a stockpile of these “little things”, and with proper rotation for freshness, you’ll always have a little extra of everything on hand.

Remember to store things like desserts and candy bars, too. When an emergency situation hits, sweet treats are a great way to keep life feeling as normal as possible, especially if you have children. You can buy a #10 can of something like brownie mix, or simply use the method above to always keep a few boxes of treats rotating through your regular storage.

Not rotating food or letting it go bad

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If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date.

Buying an extra can of soup and sticking on the shelf for a decade is not a wise food storage solution. If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date. Rotating food storage simply means using the oldest item first, and putting the more recently purchased item at the back of the line. For longer term “store it and forget it” options, you can purchase meal packs contained in buckets that store for 20 years or more. We recommend using a combination of both practices for a well-rounded supply that will be both easy and safe to use in an emergency situation.

Food storage can seem intimidating at first, but if you’ve got a handle on each of these areas, you’re well on your way to having a great emergency food supply that will last and serve you well, regardless of what life throws at you. Having a supply of familiar and delicious food on hand will give you an immense feeling of relief and safety. You can start small, and begin today!

One of the first things that people tackle when beginning to prepare for emergencies is food storage, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more to it than stacking buckets

One common misconception about emergency preparedness is that food storage quality doesn’t matter as long as you have some food stored that will last for a long time without spoiling. Having something stored is better than nothing but it is also crucial to fill your body with nourishing ingredients during an emergency. This will keep you satisfied and in top form. Eating lesser-quality foods can leave you susceptible to sickness and diminish your mental and physical health. You are storing food to protect your family against starvation but you also want to protect them from sickness and diseases caused by harmful ingredients. Do this by knowing what goes into the food that you buy.

Long-term emergency food storage is made to last a long time. Some companies in the industry cut corners and add a variety of artificial preservatives, dyes and flavors in order to lengthen the shelf life of their foods. If you are committing to protect your family be sure to make the best, healthiest choices possible. When selecting your food storage beware of artificial ingredients. Here are other red flags to consider as you look around.

Avoid Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract and Similar Flavorings

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Fresh Ingredients are more flavorful

Hydrolyzed yeast extract is a controversial ingredient found in many packaged foods and is common in food storage items. It is primarily used as a flavor-enhancer and is created by breaking down yeast cells. The FDA classifies yeast extract as a natural ingredient but according to many health experts, yeast extract is a cheaper alternative to monosodium glutamate (MSG) and actually does contain some MSG.(1) Some health and consumer advocates say that labeling something as containing yeast extract is the way food companies avoid saying that a product contains MSG.(2)

MSG has many negative side effects. Consumption of MSG has been linked to a variety of scary conditions including headaches, numbness in the face and neck, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, weakness, appetite control problems and other negative symptoms.(1)  Whether or not you have had a sensitivity to MSG in the past, it is best to avoid this ingredient in your storage food altogether.

For a good list of other additives that are linked to MSG check out the following article:

“Hidden Sources of MSG.” Truth in Labeling. Truth in Labeling Campaign

Consider GMO-Free Foods

When looking for emergency food it is equally important that the ingredients are free from genetically modified organisms or labeled GMO-free. The use of genetically modified foods is another controversial topic in the world of food and nutrition. It is best to avoid GMOs while the debate is still going on, particularly if this is a long-term purchase.

Genetically modified organisms are created by taking the genetic material of one organism and inserting it into the genetic code of another. This bold practice is becoming more and more widespread despite being widely acknowledged as a risky and understudied process. Many experts opposed to genetically modified foods argue that there has not been adequate testing on human subjects. Despite the increasing insertion of GMO ingredients into mainstream foods there are still too many unknowns about the health effects these human-engineered foods could have. Some health groups like the Center for Food Safety have gone so far as to claim that genetically modified foods can increase the likelihood of antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and even cancer.(3) Why put your family at risk with untested ingredients when you will have other worries to contend with in a survival situation?

Because the use of GMOs in manufactured foods is becoming such a widespread practice, very few emergency foods are free of GMO ingredients. However, there are a few companies that produce foods that are GMO-free. If this is an issue that is important to you, be certain that the emergency food is certified GMO-free. Some companies may claim to be free of genetically modified ingredients but without the certification have no proof.

Other Health Considerations

Other health considerations include checking amounts of cholesterol, trans fat and sodium in the food storage. Packaged foods often have high amounts of these three things and emergency foods are no exception. High-quality emergency food brands limit cholesterol, trans fat, and sodium amounts but you need to read the labels to be sure.

Make Sure Your Food Storage Ingredients Will Stand The Test Of Time

Emergency food should be able to last and still be healthful. As you look for the right emergency food be aware that some food storage companies haven’t done their research on ingredients that spoil versus those that keep. As a result they incorporate ingredients into their emergency food that go bad after a relatively short period of time. Canola oil, for example, will only last a year before it goes rancid, thus spoiling whatever food storage in which it is used. Novice food companies use canola oil in their granola to make the clusters stick together and uneducated food buyers end up with a worthless product after just a year.

Bottom line: it’s important to know what goes into your storage food. Take the time to do some research on the food you are buying; be sure it will contribute to the health and well-being of you and your family in a disaster.

Taste Matters

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Taste Matters

You have made your checklist, done the research and narrowed down your options; now it comes down to taste and appeal.

Emergency-preparedness gurus often publish lists of specific items you need to store for an emergency. One popular guideline suggests something like this: for a year’s worth of food storage each person needs 350 pounds of grain, 75 lbs of milk, 65 lbs of sugar, etc. These types of specific food guidelines can be a helpful starting point but one size does not fit all. That guideline is useless for people who have food sensitivities such as gluten or dairy intolerance. Review the first chapter of this guide and consider what is best for your family.

Regardless if you choose canned, bulk or long-term storage foods, the most important principal we stress is to store the food that your family eats the most. Having food routines that carry over from your life before will make the hard adjustments easier in a disaster situation. Buying things you don’t regularly eat just for added variety on the shelf may sound like a good idea. Unfortunately these will likely be the last foods you reach for and if not regularly rotated could be expired, possibly ending up not usable at all.

 

Do you remember going to dinner at a friend’s house as a kid? Even if it was a close friend everything about the dinner seemed foreign to you from the way they folded their napkins to the saltiness of their gravy. Even the smell of their cooking was  different from the dinnertime smells in your kitchen at home. Little differences like this mattered and affected your comfort level. Eating food from different cultures can sometimes put us in this situation, too. Routines, especially involving food, can be powerful in an emergency situation. Food affects the way we feel. If unfamiliar, food can make a scary situation that much worse.

Many food storage suppliers offer entrée options that are familiar favorites like macaroni and cheese, enchiladas and various soups. Look around at all available options and make selections based on what your family eats on a regular basis.

Store Food that Tastes Good

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Store Food that Tastes Good

At first glance taste might not seem like a very important factor when purchasing emergency food. It’s easy to justify buying food that you don’t normally eat and telling yourself, “It will be an emergency. Whether I like the food I’m eating or not will be the least of my worries.” However, making sure your food storage is appealing and tastes good to you and your family is more important than it initially seems. Having food that’s delicious and comforting, especially in an emergency situation, will bring peace of mind. Another good thing about having food storage you like is knowing that your family will eat it and it won’t go to waste.

If you have kids, buying good-tasting food is even more important. Kids are picky eaters. If it is hard to get your child to eat during a regular night at the dinner table, think of the desperation you will feel trying to get your child to eat in an emergency situation. This is not just about preferences, either. In emergency situations kids have a particularly hard time forcing themselves to eat, especially if the food is unfamiliar. On the other hand, if the food is something your child loves, it will really help.

Food that is familiar and tastes good has the power to make us feel relaxed, comfortable and cared for, even in stressful situations. Ideally, you would occasionally replace your regular meal with something from your storage food so that your family gets used to eating it.

Sample your Options

Since long-term food storage is made by others it is important to sample before buying. Never make a food storage purchase without first sampling one product from each of the companies you have narrowed down. Most food storage companies have small sample packs of their larger food kits available that are fairly inexpensive. Test a few and choose the ones that most suit your family’s tastes. This not only gives you an idea as to how the food will taste, but you will see what is involved in the preparation.

When ordering a sample ask the company if the food they are sending to you is the same as what is in the larger packages. Sometimes companies send out higher quality food in their sample packages to trick buyers into thinking that their food is better than it really is.

Variety is Optimal

When building your food supply, make sure to include a variety of all types of food storage. No one wants to be stuck eating canned beans for six months. Eating the same foods for a long period of time can also leave you deficient in the vitamins and minerals you normally get from a wider variety of foods..

Start collecting different entrée options and then add in “good” calorie side dishes for variety. You can also expand your food storage assortment by purchasing more canned goods, bulk items and other supplementing items. A wide food variety is enjoyable and will also provide options should you develop an intolerance to a particular food.

Dietary Needs

If you or a family member has special dietary needs, some food storage companies offer gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options. You want to store food similar to what you regularly eat that has already been adapted to your needs.

Plan on Extra Water

When purchasing items for your storage plan consider your additional water needs. Unlike canned food, bulk foods need water for recipes and preparation; freeze-dried and dehydrated food also need water for reconstitution. We take for granted that every day we have water immediately on hand. Figuring out how much water you use every day and calculating how much you need to store for food preparation can become overwhelming. Water storage takes up a lot of space and is hard to accomplish. Your best option is to first store what you can. We recommend that you also invest in a quality water filter and locate an alternate water source.

Don’t Forget the Treats

The idea of storing a few luxury items that you are used to having and would not like to do without is commonly overlooked. These items might be coffee, chocolate or other specialty foods that are part of your routine. Having luxury items may seem trivial but a simple treat or comfort snack will be invaluable in a survival situation. Not only will it be good for morale, you could use it as a bartering tool should the situation come to that. Having treats stored for an emergency benefits everyone.

Pet Considerations

For people with pets it is a common practice to store several months’ worth of food at a time in case of emergency. Because dry pet food can go rancid relatively quickly it’s a good idea to continually rotate through your stock. Canned pet food can last as long as regular canned foods but is typically pricier than dry pet food.

Dry pet food is a good option and can be purchased in larger quantities. This pet food contains fats and oils and will spoil if not stored correctly. Dry food stored in large plastic, glass or metal bins can help protect the food against insects but exposure to light, air, humidity and heat speeds up the rate at which the food degrades. The fats and oils can stick to the bottom and sides of the container leaving a film that can become rancid over time. This further contaminates other bags of food added to it and could lead to a health risk for your animal.

It is best to wash and dry the container thoroughly prior to adding new food. You could also keep the dry food in its original packaging when placing it in one of these containers. Make sure to get the air out of the bag after each use and seal with a good lid. If these dry foods are unopened or stored well the shelf life can be up to one year. Always check the “best buy date” for your particular brand.  The recommended “use by” date for an open package is six weeks. If you repackage this food into food grade buckets and add oxygen absorbers you may increase this to up to 2 years, depending on the food. Further measures must be taken to avoid spoilage for longer storage.

Legacy Premium is proud to introduce the first healthy, well-balanced dog or cat food storage with a 10-year shelf life. Our pet food storage is stored in heavy-duty Mylar pouches complete with oxygen absorbers; pouches are stored in stack-able, waterproof and rodent-proof plastic buckets that are re-sealable and BPA-free.

Food storage can be a big purchase so take the time to figure out what foods you and your whole family will want to eat. An emergency is not the time to try new foods, nor is it the time to force your family to eat food they do not like. Food should be a comfort rather than a negative factor adding to the stress of a bad situation. Hopefully this is food insurance that you never have to use but if you do, you want it to be good, healthy food that is enjoyable to eat.

 

One common misconception about emergency preparedness is that food storage quality doesn’t matter as long as you have some food stored that will last for a long time without spoiling.

When most people think of long term food storage, pantries filled with canned goods is what often comes to mind. However, we have to be very careful with what we store and buy. Things are not always what they seem when it comes to food storage many products claim to be made with the famed 25 year shelf life, but start to read the label and you will find ingredients that will not last more than 2-3 years. This article will teach you what to look for.

When looking at long term food storage, you must first look at the ingredients. Can you pronounce every ingredient? Do you see words like hydrogenated, hydrolyzed, or Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG)? These words, along with many others indicate artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives that can be very harmful to your body, not to mention unstable.

Read the label

If you have bought food go grab it and lets look at the label. If you see things like cake flour it only has a shelf life of 8 months to a year. Keep looking, do you see soy bean oil, canola oil, hydrogenated oils or hydrolyzed syrup? Those all have a shelf life of only a year or two, yet they are being sold as 25 year food storage! Don’t forget to also look for things like whole eggs or dairy as well. These ingredients simply can not last as long as these food storage companies claim and you need to be aware.

To be shelf stable, there also has to be the minimum of water content in the food. The FDA suggests that dehydrated food, using any form of dehydration, must have a water content less than 7%. The problem most companies find with following this mandate is simply cost. Making sure the food actually gets under 7% of water content requires extra time, effort and power, creating a path for shortcuts to be taken which most companies do.

When shortcuts are taken, added preservatives have to be used. By putting in the hydrogenated oils, food storage manufacturers can extend the shelf life of lower quality oils such as vegetable, soy, and safflower oils.  These oils have a natural shelf life of 18 months under preferable conditions. When chemicals and artificial preservatives are introduced, they can store for several years, but they have been altered to an unhealthy form to accomplish it.

When purchasing your food, make sure you do your homework and read the label. It may literally save your life.

Finding a manufacturer that believes in using natural, shelf stable ingredients means that they don’t have to use the artificial chemicals to preserve their long term food storage. The food is just as flavorful, healthy, and nutritious as when it was originally sourced. When you are looking for good ingredients, look for real food products that have been freeze dried and prepared to last. For example things like tomato or onion powder chopped or grated vegetables. Also look for whole foods like whole beans in the food, products that contain these types of ingredients will be sure to provide you the nutrition your body will need, when you need it.

Is your food protected?

Another thing to look for is packaging, this isn’t always the easiest thing to see because many products now come in the large white buckets. While the buckets look good they are not what actually is protecting the food from the elements. When you open up the bucket you will notice that the food is individually packaged in plastic or Mylar type bags. This is crucial to long term food storage because if your packaging fails your food will spoil long before its shelf date. A few things I like to look for is the quality of the bag itself. Is it flimsy and folds easily? That’s a bad sign, look for solid, quality bags at least 5.4 mm think so it will stand the test of time. I also really like the resealable option so you can one use a little at a time and still seal off your food.

The next thing to look for when it comes to packaging is how the provider is eliminating oxygen from the food. This will again provide the product a long shelf life as well as keep it fresh. If the company only provides an oxygen eliminating pack in its product, that’s really not enough to keep the food fresh. Look for a producer that fully nitrogen flushes its food to eliminate all oxygen in each bag.

Getting your food storage doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t make the mistake of buying from the first food storage company you see and getting food that won’t be edible in an emergency.

When most people think of long term food storage, pantries filled with canned goods is what often comes to mind. However, we have to be very careful with what we

Why does everyone talk about storing wheat?

I recognize that there is a significant number of people in the world that do not tolerate wheat well, or at all. My father-in-law has celiac disease, and one of my sons cannot have any whole grains. However, even these individuals should consider storing wheat in some measure, and I’ll be discussing the reasons why at the end of this article. Of course, those that will benefit most from this article are those who can eat wheat.

Wheat is the staple grain of the North American diet. It’s what we grow here all across the Great Plains. It’s what we’re accustomed to eating. We have the recipes for breads and other baked goods. (You do have recipes, right? Hard copies, right?) Amaranth, quinoa, spelt and such are great, but most people don’t store or use them. They don’t know how to work with them. TEOTWAWKI won’t be the time to learn. And exotic grains are expensive. At least for now, wheat is very cheap.

Because wheat is what we grow here, it’s what will be available post-TEOTWAWKI, if anything is. Even if you can’t eat wheat, consider storing it for those who can, especially those in your family or those who may be coming to you. That way you have cheaper food for them and you can keep your costlier non-wheat preps for yourself.

Nothing smells better, or tastes better, than freshly baked bread. Really good food improves morale in a crisis. And unfortunately, bread is one of those items that cannot be stored. It has to be made fresh every week. Furthermore, most people can’t make bread. It is definitely one of those skills that takes practice and should be mastered while we can still feed the loaves that flop to the chickens without feeling wasteful.

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Non-GMO Hard Red Spring Wheat

Wheat is nutritious.

Wheat combined with milk (in the same meal) will provide all the essential amino acids for building protein. Wheat is a primary source of B vitamins. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, they can’t be stored by the body. We need a constant supply of vitamin B to maintain good health. In addition, sprouted wheat berries (more on that later) are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide some vitamins A and D.

While being able to bake bread is probably the main reason for most of us to store wheat, there is still plenty that can be done with wheat berries until you are able to obtain a grain grinder and while you learn to bake your bread. The whole grain can be boiled for cereal. Any leftover boiled berries can be mixed in with ground beef to extend it (meat loaf, meat balls, hamburger patties, etc.) without too much notice by the rest of the family. The whole berries can be used to make blender pancakes or blender waffles (full recipes and tutorials at storethisnotthat.com). The berries can be popped and eaten like popcorn.

But wait, there’s more!

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Wheat Berry Salad with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Wheat can be sprouted for even greater nutritional benefits. In a nutshell, wheat berries are soaked in cool water for about twelve hours. Drain the berries and rinse and drain again. Rinse the wheat well three to four times per day. (For the specific how-to’s of sprouting wheat, click here.) The two to three-day old sprouts can be added to soups or salads. At this point they are already much higher in calcium and vitamin C and several other minerals. Or let the sprouts continue to grow and green up a little for adding to sandwiches, like alfalfa sprouts. Or dehydrate the sprouted berries and grind them into flour for sourdough baking. Or toss them into soil for growing wheat grass for juicing.

Furthermore, wheat berries can also be used to grow fodder for our animals. Basically, the wheat berries are soaked and sprouted as described above, but instead of sprouting in a jar they are spread in a plastic tray with drainage holes. The rinsing is the same—three to four times per day, and the wheat berries are allowed to grow into wheat grass. The roots develop into a thick mat, and the grass and mat are fed as fodder to livestock about ten days from the initial soaking. So even people who can’t eat wheat benefit from storing it as the fodder is fed to chickens, rabbits, goats, and sheep who turn the fodder into eggs, meat, milk, and sometimes even fiber.

While it does take a little time and effort—but just a little—to grow fodder, bear in mind all the benefits. One pound of wheat berries becomes seven pounds of highly nutritious natural fodder. Wheat has a much, much longer shelf life than commercial feeds, it is much cheaper, and takes much less space. Fodder is a great way to provide greens in winter when grasses and weeds aren’t growing.

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Wheat can be sprouted for even greater nutritional benefits. In a nutshell, wheat berries are soaked in cool water for about twelve hours. Drain the berries and rinse and drain again.

What is the best type of wheat to stock up on?

As you start researching the possibilities of adding wheat to your storage program, you find that there are actually a lot of different kinds of wheat. So now what? What kind to purchase? After all, you don’t want to make any mistakes here.

Durum wheat is what is used to make pasta, and soft white wheat is used for baked goods that do not use yeast—biscuits, cookies, cakes, etc. Soft white wheat also has less protein (gluten) than hard white. Most people do not store these two grains, at least not in significant quantities.

Hard white spring wheat sprouts best, but some research shows that it doesn’t store quite as well as the hard red and hard white winter wheat’s.

Hard red wheat has very slightly more protein than hard white. However, because hard white lacks the bitterness of hard red, less sweetener is needed in baked goods. For all of its advantages—milder taste, superior baking qualities, and ease of sprouting, hard white winter wheat is what we store.

And just how does wheat need to be stored? Regardless of the variety you choose, if stored properly wheat can remain viable and edible for hundreds of years. There are a variety of storage options, each with their pros and cons. Mylar bags are easy and very portable, but rats and mice can chew through them. Grain stored in #10 cans is pest-proof, but the cans are subject to rust, especially in humid areas. And storing enough wheat in cans gets a little pricey, at least for us. Some choose to store their wheat in large plastic or metal barrels. I just don’t like them because they aren’t very portable. Our family has moved (with our food storage!) eight times in the past 25 years. I can’t imagine what a nightmare moving large barrels would have been.

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You can find free food-grade buckets at local stores around town.

Storing Wheat in your home or retreat

We choose to store our grains in plastic buckets that we get free from bakeries and donut shops. They’re free, they’re food grade, they’re portable. Yes, mice or rats could eventually chew through the buckets. Admittedly, we have had some seasons with an overabundance of mice and rats (isn’t even a single critter an overabundance?), but we’ve never had any critter chew on the buckets. The cons are that the five-gallon buckets can be difficult for some people to carry. And those lids can be nearly impossible to remove. Make sure you have a few bucket wrenches for them. They’re a lifesaver.

Store your wheat in a cool, dry place—50-60 degrees is ideal. Wheat that has been stored at higher temperatures for even a short time will not sprout as well or at all and will not make good yeast breads. It will also have lost some nutritional value.

Exactly how much wheat should you store? Well, that’s going to vary from one person to the next. The LDS Church advises 400 pounds of grains per person per year as part of their food storage recommendations for a 2200 calorie per day diet. That’s what I use for my family, with about 300 pounds of wheat per person. However, in addition to that we also store 50 pounds per chicken or rabbit to grow into fodder. When it comes to wheat, I think the day will come when it will be worth its weight in gold. With all its uses, the ease of storing it, and its low-cost, you just can’t ever have too much.

Why does everyone talk about storing wheat? I recognize that there is a significant number of people in the world that do not tolerate wheat well, or at all. My father-in-law