When we began our Food Storage Friday posts a few months ago, one of the posts that I knew we had to cover, that I dreaded more than anything, was the discussion on grinding your own wheat. The reason I knew we had to cover it was because it is usually the first question that comes up when anyone is beginning their personal food storage needs. The reason I dreaded it was because I knew so little about the topic and there are so many different experts, ideas, and opinions out there on the best ways to grind and use your own wheat and flour. Where would I begin?
It was thinking over and over about this topic that led me to this question: If I am nervous, worried, and even a little confused about this topic, than maybe there are others that feel the same way? With this thought in mind, I decided to gear today's post around those of us that are just beginning or hoping to begin the process of purchasing, storing, and grinding our own wheat. Together, maybe we can help each other gain more understanding by working together and getting a better understanding of what it means to grind our own wheat. With that said, let's get started!
What type of wheat should I use?
When it comes to choosing your own wheat to grind, two products seem to be at the forefront of this group, Honeyville's Hard White Wheat and Hard Red Wheat. When you look at the benefits of these products, it's easy to see why! Both are the ideal wheat for use in just about every recipe calling for flour, including breads, rolls, tortillas, noodles, cookies, pastries, and anything else you can think of. While Hard White Wheat gives you more of that "White Bread" type of taste and texture, Hard Red Wheat is more of a hearty, wheat-flavored type of texture, particularly in baked bread. While choosing red or white may be a personal choice, you and your family can't go wrong with these items.
How do I store these products and what is the shelf life
This is where the real benefits come in. Both Hard White Wheat and Hard Red Wheat have one of the longest shelf lives of any honeyville product, and the storability options for both are endless! You can purchase both in a sealed, #10 can, which gives you easy storability and a shelf life of 10-15 years. Or, for those of us looking for a larger purchase, you can pick up a 50 lb bag of both Hard White Wheat and Hard Red Wheat and empty the bag into one of our 6 gallon buckets or even in large grain containers we sell at our retail locations. Storability in these products can help you push the shelf life up to 20 years. Just remember to keep them dry and sealed.
What is the best grinder for me?
Purchasing your own grinder is kind of like shopping for a new car (though not as pricey!). It's all about which one best suits your family and your personal needs. Are you looking for something small and storable? Do you want a crank powered, electric powered, or both? Are you looking to grind or roll your own wheat and oats? Knowing these questions up front will help you choose the best grinder for you.
You'll find a great selection of grinders at any of our Honevyille stores. Some of the most popular include the Marga Oat Roller, which rolls your wheat or oats into an oatmeal looking product, the Victoria Grain Mill, which can be used either as a hand crank mill or with an electric motor (sold seperately), and the Family Grain Mill, which has attachments for grinding or rolling, and can be used as a hand crank mill, or even be attached to your KitchenAid or Bosch processor for electric grinding or rolling. For those looking to grind a great deal, our Nutrimill Electric Grain Mill is our most powerful electric grinder we offer. Again, your grinder choice depends on the needs of you and your family.
What is the shelf life of my ground wheat
Once the wheat is ground or rolled, the life span takes a drastic change. Most cooks and bakers have even stated that the best time to use freshly ground grain is within 1-2 days. At the most, the longest life you could get out of ground grain would be around a year, stored in a 6 gallon bucket and sealed with a gamma or regular lid. The best thing to keep in mind, when it comes to grinding, is that the life of your wheat is much longer before it is ground, so wait to grind until you need to.
Once ground, your wheat is officially baking flour. Though it may not look like typical baking flour, you can use it in any products that call for flour. The same goes for any oats that you choose to roll.
Grinding your own grain can be intimidating to anyone new to food storage, but the benefits are just too good to pass up. Easy to store, long shelf life, and ability to be used at any time in almost any recipe, why wouldn't you want to stock up as much as you can.
Yes, I've been converted to grinding my own grain, how about you?