How To Use Wheat Berries: long term food storage


You’ve stored your family’s emergency wheat supply, but how the heck are you going to use it? Get ready to eat some delicious meals. Learn to use wheat by trying your hand at homemade pasta, pie crust, leavened bread, wheat porridge, soups, and stews.

Use wheat from long-term storage by cooking it whole or by milling it into flour. Hard wheat is used to make: leavened bread, pizza dough, noodles, hard rolls, flatbreads, and tortillas. Soft wheat is the primary wheat in—pastry and cake flour used to make cakes and pastries.  

Tip: When preparing to store wheat for long-term storage, make sure you get wheat berries. This is wheat with the outer husk removed. Whole wheat will not store long-term like wheat berries.

Use Wheat As Flour or Cook It Whole

You don’t have to use wheat as milled flour. It can also be cooked like porridge and eaten plain.

  • Add other pantry foods like butter, nut butter, or preserves.
  • Cook wheat like barley and add to soups, stews, or salads from your survival garden.

The reason preppers store wheat instead of flour is because of shelf-life. Flour lasts 5 years wheat lasts 30+ years.

Wheat berries used for flour are milled or ground as you use it. This maintains the shelf-life of your stores. Keep in mind that once a sealed container is opened, the clock starts ticking.

For this reason, preppers will use smaller Mylar bags with Oxygen absorbers and put them inside plastic bins for protection. #10 cans are also a good option.

Let’s talk a little about the general types of wheat and their characteristic in a long–term pantry.

Check out this cool video of Scott milling 5.5lb of white winter wheat and making homemade pasta with the flour.

How to Use Soft Wheat: Characteristics

Soft wheat berries are softer than hard and are typically higher in starch and lower in gluten proteins. Soft wheat is typically used to make unleavened bread and sweet baked goods like cake and pastries.

Typical flours made from soft wheat are cake and pastry flour. This flour is often used when going for a baked product that is tender and crumbly but not big and fluffy. Here are some examples of what you can make with soft wheat.

  • Pastries
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Pasta (for a tender noodle but can be hard to work with)

Storage Tip: White wheat is not ideal for the bulk of your emergency grain storage because you’ll want to make leavened bread as a staple in your diet. It is a great addition to your pantry because it can be used to make pancakes and biscuits.

Soft wheat or wheat berries provide less gluten protein than hard wheat. Gluten gives hard wheat bread the ability to rise into big fluffy loaves using leaving agents like yeast and starters.

If you’ve ever eaten from a delicious loaf of fresh-baked bread, more than likely, the flour used came from hard red or hard white wheat.

Soft-wheat will only store for 8 years in hermetically sealed containers, hard wheat stores for 30 +.

How To Use Hard Wheat: Characteristics

Typically hard wheat is used to make leavened bread or bread that rises. Ever see a big loaf of bread at the farmer’s market. Golden brown and 6″ tall, that’s hard wheat.

Hard wheat berries can also be boiled and eaten whole. As with soft wheat, you can use it like porridge or as an ingredient in soups, stews, and salads.

In a survival situation, we can’t forget our goals. One of them is maximizing nutrition, and hard wheat has a much higher protein level than soft. Combine hard wheat with another food staple like dried beans, or bread and nut butter for a whole protein.

Hard wheat is the logical choice for most of your long-term stores because of the 30-year shelf-life and higher protein content.

6 Classifications of Wheat: Common Uses and Shelf-life

When is comes to long-term storage not all types of wheat is created equal. Take a look below at the classifications of wheat, what they are used for and the shelf-life you can expect if properly stored in an Oxygen-free container.

Chart #1 Types of Wheat and Their Uses

6 Wheat ClassificationsCommon UsesShelf Life Years *
Hard Red WinterVersatile, excellent milling and baking characteristics for pan bread, Asian Noodles, Hard rolls, flat breads, general purpose flour and cereal30 +
Hard Red SpringConsidered top-shelf wheat for baking hearth bread, rolls, croissants, bagels, and pizza crust. Valued for improving other flours types by blending.30 +
Soft Red WinterLow on the gluten scale, solid milling and baking characteristics. It can be used for cookies, crackers, pretzels, pastries, and flatbreads8+
Soft WhiteLow On The Gluten Scale. Excellent for pastries, cakes, Asian-style Noodles, and Middle Eastern flatbreads.8+
Hard WhiteAsian noodles, pan, and flatbreads.30+
DurumTough wheat that’s high in gluten. Primarily used for pasta, couscous, and Mediterranean Style bread.30+
*shelf-life is based on wheat properly stored in a sealed Oxygen-free container. Information provided by the Wheat Foods Council.

Learn which types of wheat berry make which type of flour and you can prepare flour to fit the use.

Chart #2 Types of Flour and How They Are Used

Four TypeDescription
All-purposeA combination of hard and soft wheat that can be used in most baked products
Bread FlourMilled from high protein/gluten hard wheat(s), ideal for baking yeast bread
Cake FlourMilled from soft red and white wheat, ideal for cakes, crackers, quick bread, and pastries
Pastry FlourHigher protein content than cake flour but used for the same purpose.
SemolinaThe highest protein of all wheat. Not normally used to make bread but makes top-notch pasta
DurumUsed to make noodles
Whole Wheat FlourGround from a wheat kernel with the husk on. Wheat berries have the husk removed which makes them good for long-term storage. The oil in the wheat husk drastically reduces shelf-life. Used to make heavy and dense bread.
High Gluten FlourGround from hard spring wheat is used as a mix for low-gluten wheat. Used primarily for leavened bread
Information provided by the Wheat Foods Council.

Wheat For Sprouting

Wheat berry sprouts can be eaten by themselves or used in salads, sandwiches, soups, or bread. They are a great way to get extra nutrition when the garden is out of season or fresh vegetables are unavailable.

Sprout Wheat Berries In 10 Easy Steps:

  1. Wash 1/3 cup of dry wheat berries
  2. Place berries in a bowl and cover with 1″ of water
  3. Cover and let sit overnight
  4. Drain and Rinse Berries
  5. Clean three, 1-quart jars
  6. Place 1/4 cup of berries in each jar
  7. Cover jars with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber-band or the lid ring
  8. Place jars on their side stored in a cool dark location
  9. Rinse once per day for 3 or 4 days until sprouted
  10. Refrigerate until used

*Information Compliments of Bob’s Red Mill

Sprout Wheat for Animal Fodder

Wheat animal fodder is wheat berries sprouted and allowed to grow into wheatgrass. Fodder is a survivalist or homesteader’s secret weapon to keep animals in tip-top shape no matter the climate or time of year.

Making fodder is simple to do and fills the gaps when you may have no other option. If you depend on rabbits or chickens to survive, it could be a lifesaver.

5 Reasons to Sprout Wheat Berries For Animal Fodder

  1. One Pound of wheat berries provides up to 7lb of animal feed.
  2. Hard wheat-berries have a shelf life of 30+ years, and Animal feed lasts about 6 months.
  3. Wheat berries are cheaper than animal feed. A 50lb bag of rabbit pellets provides 50lbs of food, a 50-pound bag of sprouted wheat provides 350 lbs of food.
  4. Wheat berries can be started indoors in any climate or weather.
  5. Provides greens when they aren’t growing outdoors

4 Steps to Grow Fodder From Wheat Berries?

  1. Soak berries in a plastic tray with drainage holes
  2. Rinse berries once per day with clean water (more if necessary)
  3. By day 10, you will have a thick mass of green wheatgrass
  4. Feed the fodder to chickens, quail, ducks, rabbits, or goats

Who will eat it? Chickens, Rabbits and goats will all eat fodder from wheat berries.

Use Wheat to Brew Beer

Post SHTF brewing would be a pretty good skill to have. Alcohol is an excellent item for bartering and beer making is closely tied to bread making.

Early in American history, most people got bread yeast from the brewer.

Learn a process called Malting, sprouting, or germinating wheat berries and then drying them once sprouted.

Malted wheat can be used to make beers such as German Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock, Belgian Witbier, and American Wheat beer.

Basic Brewing Technique For Wheat Beer

I don’t want to get too much into brewing but the following instructions give you an idea of how easy it is to make wheat beer.

  1. steep a bag of wheat berries in 2 gallons of hot water, 160 degrees for twenty minutes
  2. remove and discard grain bags
  3. stir in malt extracts
  4. turn the heat back on and bring to a boil
  5. add bittering hops and boil for an hour
  6. add flavor and aroma hops at the end of the boil
  7. cool your wort down, then pitch the yeast

Information compliments of homebrewing.org

Check out homebrewing.org for recipes, instructions, and links to brewing equipment.

Use Your Wheat to Garden

You need quite a bit of space to grow wheat from your stored grains but it’s doable if you have at least 1000 ft of garden space available.

A 1000sqft plot will grow a bushel of wheat which is 60lb.

Growing grain is an excellent post-SHTF survival skill.

Winter wheat can be grown in a small space and used as green manure for your compost pile or as a mulch on garden beds and around planting areas.

Green manure acts as a mulch, protects soil, conserves water and adds nutrients to the soil.

Use Wheat to Feed the Chickens

During winter months and cold weather, chickens get bored and they need nutrition they may not be getting from free-ranging.

Sprout wheat berries in a compost pile and let chickens peck for the sprouts. It gives them something to do and improves your compost pile.

If you are hot composting and your pile is covered with plastic, you may have to break the pile up a bit so the chickens can get at the sprouts.

The hot-composting method is often used next to a green-house or a hoop-house to provide heat for growing vegetables during the off-season. Scraps from these vegetables can also be fed to the chicks.

Sprout wheat indoors, let it grow into wheatgrass and take it out to the chicken coup. The chicks will love you for it. Happy chickens lay more eggs.

Sources:

Wheatfoods.org

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