Food Storage: Wheat Berries to Flour Conversions

A little while ago, I noticed an error in one of my posts regarding wheat-to-flour conversions that needed correcting. I went ahead and corrected it in the original post, but figured many might not revisit that post any time soon. So I want to go ahead and make note of it again in a new post. So to set the record straight, lets talk again about converting wheat berries to flour and all those fun measurements. 🙂

Wheat-To-Flour Conversion

For the record, 1 cup of wheat berries will grind into just a little over 1½ cups of whole wheat flour. I’ve actually gotten close to 2 cups of flour on occasion, but for the sake of consistency and erring on the side of caution, I will use 1½ cups as my standard measurement.

Each 45-lb bucket of wheat has about 95 cups of wheat in it (yes, I sat and actually measured it out with Hubby double checking me to make sure this was accurate). So a 45-lb bucket of wheat will grind into about 150 cups of flour. Each 45-lb bucket is also equivalent to approximately 8 (#10) cans. So if you prefer to store #10 cans, simply multiply the recommended number of buckets listed below by 8 to get the total amount of #10 cans you should have.

How Much Wheat Should You Have?

Using a Food Storage Calculator (and please remember these are bare minimum suggestions):

  • A family of 2 adults (no children) should have 300 lbs of wheat (this is 7 (45 lb) buckets)
  • A family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children under age 7)= 450 lbs (this is 10 (45 lb) buckets)
  • A family of 4 (all over age 7)= 600 lbs (this is 13.5 (45 lb) buckets)
  • A family of 6 (4 adults, 2 under age 7)= 750 lbs (this is 17 (45 lb) buckets)
  • A family of 6 (all over age 7)= 900 lbs (this is 20 (45 lb) buckets)
  • A family of 8 (all over age 7)= 1200 lbs (this is 27 (45 lb) buckets)

Looking at it in terms of baking:

  • To make one loaf of bread everyday for a year (based on THIS recipe) you would need 1300 cups of wheat flour (this is 9 (45 lb) buckets of wheat)
  • To make one loaf of bread every other day for a year (based on THIS recipe) you would need 650 cups of wheat flour (this is 4.5 (45 lb) buckets of wheat)
  • To make waffles (based on THIS recipe that feeds 4) two times a week for a year you would need 104 cups of wheat flour (this is .75 (45 lb) buckets of wheat)
  • To make pancakes (based on THIS recipe that feeds 4-6) two times a week for a year you would need 156 cups of wheat flour (this is 1 (45 lb) bucket of wheat)
  • And just for good measure, to make a batch of cookies 😀 (using THIS recipe) twice a month you would need 108 cups of wheat flour (this is .75 (45 lb) buckets of wheat)

Does that help to visualize things a little better? And there’s also a helpful post HERE to get the low down on the amounts it would take to be able to make bread for the year (a comprehensive list of ALL the ingredients in their total amounts).

And finally, if you’re not sure where to get wheat, Emergency Essentials® is my favorite place to get it. The price is awesome (and there’s even a discounted price if you order more than 4), it already comes in the bucket sealed and ready to store (versus other companies where it comes in a bag and you have to purchase the bucket separately or take it to a cannery and purchase cans to can it yourself), and you can buy as much as you want and not pay any more than $12 in shipping! So what I recommend doing is finding some friends and ordering a bunch together so you can split the shipping costs and also get the discounted rate on the buckets. Not to mention, you’re helping other people to get going on their food storage supply as well. Think of it as providing service. 😀

Well, as always, have fun and good luck!

Food Storage: Got Your Wheat?

{Update 7/28/11: There was some inaccurate information listed in the wheat-to-flour conversions in the original article. I originally noted that 1 cup of wheat berries grinds into just shy  of 1 cup of flour. This is not the case. 1 cup of wheat actually grinds into just shy of TWO cups of flour. So the good news is, that if you followed the original numbers and already got your wheat, now you’ve got some extra! BONUS! The other good news is that if you haven’t gotten all your wheat yet, you don’t have to get quite as much as originally anticipated. The numbers listed below in the baking section reflect the corrected totals. The numbers in the Food Storage Calculator section were correct to start with and there is no change to those totals.}

Have you seen this in the news yet?– Oklahoma Sees Driest 4 Months Since Dust Bowl. Hubby first pointed it out to me and then I did a quick search on the internet to see that it’s all over the different news medias.
Seriously?? Since the Dust Bowl? Do you remember when that was?? That was during the Great Depression. Economic hard times combined with lost crops (due to major drought) combined with whatever else created a situation of no jobs and no food and The Great Depression. Sound familiar??
If you read the article mentioned above it notes how a vast majority of the midwest (from Louisiana to Colorado) are currently experiencing severe droughts. Right here in the great state of Texas (shout out!), 40% of our land is experiencing “extreme drought”. And I’m here to tell ya… that ain’t no lie! Dark clouds come and go and never give up their rain. We’re so thankful that we’ve got our little garden still hanging in there, but we’ve got to water it constantly. There’s no way a large garden (not to mention one that is several hundreds or thousands of acres) could survive an extended drought because they depend on the weather for their water.

So what does this mean? Well, wheat farmers are looking to just plow under their crop (wheat) and plant something else. The wheat is just not producing. Which means, right here in the good ol’ US of A, we are also experiencing the same wheat shortage that other countries have been facing. We are not immune to these problems! (*gasp* We’re not??)
So HOPEFULLY you have already been working on getting a good supply of wheat in your home (along with everything else). HOPEFULLY you’ve already got that crossed off your list. HOWEVER,  if you have not, may I slightly beg you to do something about your situation today? Now?
Again, I never want to create a panic in you because that is simply not the best way to prepare for something. But I do want you to be informed. So without panicking, let’s look at approximately how much wheat you should have in your home and then please just evaluate your situation and if it needs to be remedied, do something about it.

Using a Food Storage Calculator (and please remember these are bare minimum suggestions):

  • A family of 2 adults (no children) should have 300 lbs of wheat (this is 7 (45 lb) buckets*)
  • A family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children under age 7)= 450 lbs (this is 10 (45 lb) buckets*)
  • A family of 4 (all over age 7)= 600 lbs (this is 13.5 (45 lb) buckets*)
  • A family of 6 (4 adults, 2 under age 7)= 750 lbs (this is 17 (45 lb) buckets*)
  • A family of 6 (all over age 7)= 900 lbs (this is 20 (45 lb) buckets*)
  • A family of 8 (all over age 7)= 1200 lbs (this is 27 (45 lb) buckets*)

Looking at it in terms of baking:

  • To make one loaf of bread everyday for a year (based on THIS recipe) you would need 1300 cups of wheat flour (this is 9 (45 lb) buckets* of wheat)
  • To make one loaf of bread every other day for a year (based on THIS recipe) you would need 650 cups of wheat flour (this is 4.5 (45 lb) buckets* of wheat)
  • To make waffles (based on THIS recipe that feeds 4) two times a week for a year you would need 104 cups of wheat flour (this is .75 (45 lb) buckets* of wheat)
  • To make pancakes (based on THIS recipe that feeds 4-6) two times a week for a year you would need 156 cups of wheat flour (this is 1 (45 lb) bucket* of wheat)
  • And just for good measure, to make a batch of cookies 😀 (using THIS recipe) twice a month you would need 108 cups of wheat flour (this is .75 (45 lb) buckets* of wheat)

*{Updated 7/28/11} Each 45 lb bucket has about 95 cups of wheat in it, which (roughly estimated) grinds into about 150 cups of flour (1 cup of wheat makes just over 1.5 cups of flour). Each (45 lb) bucket is also equivalent to approximately 8 (#10) cans. So if you prefer to store #10 cans, simply multiply the number of buckets listed by 8 to get the total amount of #10 cans you should have.

So… for me and my family (2 adults, 2 kidlettes), if I want to have pancakes two times a week plus waffles two times a week for breakfast, and make a loaf of bread every other day for our lunch sandwiches, and make cookies two times a month to keep us happy, I’m looking at storing 7 buckets of wheat. Totally doable. (Of course, this is only for the mentioned items… the total amount would actually be higher when I take into account other meals that require wheat as well.) And don’t forget to store the other ingredients that go into those recipes as well (and I’ll start exploring that on some of our Wednesday recipe days), but start with your wheat. Make. sure. you’ve. got. it. Figure out how much you need, go see how much you’ve got, make up any differences. Don’t worry about where you’re going to store it. You can deal with that later (or you can check out THIS post for some ideas).

Okay, well I’ve probably said enough. If you’re not sure where to get wheat, Emergency Essentials® is my favorite place to get it. The price is awesome (and there’s even a discounted price if you order more than 4), it already comes in the bucket sealed and ready to store (versus other companies where it comes in a bag and you have to purchase the bucket separately or take it to a cannery and purchase cans to can it yourself), and you can buy as much as you want and not pay any more than $12 in shipping! So what I recommend doing is finding some friends and ordering a bunch together so you can split the shipping costs and also get the discounted rate on the buckets. Not to mention, you’re helping other people to get going on their food storage supply as well. Think of it as providing service. 😀

So go get to it. And don’t forget to smile and be happy while you do! 😀

Food Storage: Using Your Wheat

Alright, this will be our last post on wheat for a little while. We’re going to move on to other grains. But before we move on, I wanted to make sure you don’t get all this wheat and then not have a clue what to do with it. So here are the main things you can do with wheat…

Wheat Flour
This is obviously the most common thing we do with wheat… we grind it! If you do not have a wheat grinder, I strongly suggest you start saving up for one. They can be a little pricey, but are well worth the investment. Especially when you consider how much less expensive it is to grind your own whole grains versus purchasing expensive whole grain flour in the store. And honestly… isn’t your family’s health and well-being worth it? I also recommend getting a hand-crank grinder for emergency purpose use. Another expense, but you’ll be glad you’ve got it when there’s no electricity and you’re sitting there with buckets and buckets of wheat. (*Hint*… you could also ask for these as Christmas, birthday, or anniversary gifts. Our electric wheat grinder was a wedding present and our hand-crank was a Christmas present. So we didn’t even have to spend any money on them!) Anyway, once you’ve ground your wheat into flour, you can use it to make any and all of your baking needs that call for flour; breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, tortillas, etc. And you’ll find that if you use fresh ground flour, your baked goods will turn out so much better because the flour is so vital right after it’s ground (especially versus flour that’s been sitting on a store shelf for who knows how long).

Cooked Wheat Berries
Instead of grinding wheat, you can also just cook it. Cooked wheat berries are similar in texture to other cooked grains such as barley, brown rice, and oat groats. You can use cooked wheat berries as a breakfast cereal in the morning, or you can add it to soups, salads, and pilafs.

To cook wheat berries combine 1 cup of rinsed wheat berries with 3 cups of water and a dash of salt in a medium saucepan. (Note: some people say to soak your berries overnight before you cook them. This is not needed, but you can do it if you’d like.) Bring the contents to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently until plump and chewy and the berries start to split open (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse. You can serve them hot right away, or cover in an air-tight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. (You can just reheat them in the microwave when you want them hot.)
You can also try cooking these in your slow-cooker over night on low for 8 hours to have breakfast waiting for you in the morning. AND you can cook them in your rice cooker too (which is the way I have cooked mine). So many possibilities! 🙂

So far I’ve tried adding cooked wheat berries to my fruit and yogurt bowls, to a bowl of cold cereal in the morning, to a cheddar broccoli rice side dish, and to pancake mix. The rice dish was probably the most successful in terms of getting people to eat it. I didn’t mind it in the other dishes as well, but it’s definitely different (and probably not something I will do on a regular basis). I recommend starting off by adding only small amounts. The flavor and texture takes a little getting used to, so don’t go overboard right off the bat. You can dress wheat berries up as much as you’d like and play around with a bunch of different flavor combinations.  Try using juice or broth in place of the water, or toasting the berries prior to cooking. Here’s a recipe for a Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl you can try to get your creativity started (see picture above for a glimpse).

Sprouting Wheat
Sprouting is the process of adding water to seeds, grains, or even nuts to help them become ‘alive’ (just as if you were going to sprout seeds to plant in your garden to grow). This is an area in which I have only dabbled… and I use that term liberally. Technically I’ve tried it once. 🙂 It worked, then I didn’t know what to do with my sprouts, so they sat there and went moldy, I threw them out, and haven’t tried it again since. But sprouting is a good way to get good nutrition in you. It can even increase the amount of nutrients and vitamins in whatever you are sprouting. Granted, I believe there is some controversy over which form is more nutritious (I believe there are trade-offs for each side), but the point is that it is highly nutritious. AND, when you sprout something you give life to it. It now has living enzymes. And when you eat them, that life is transfered to you which brings about it’s own set of benefits, among which is that it can help give you increased energy. So… to sprout or not to sprout. That is the question. 🙂 For me, the process was not really rewarding enough to do it on a regular basis, but then again, I’m basing this only on one experience. Perhaps I may do it occasionally for some fun with the kiddos, or even more often once I learn more about different things to sprout and how to use them. My journey with sprouts is definitely not over, but there are just other things I would like to explore first. 🙂 But really, it’s pretty easy, it only takes about 2-4 days before they’re ready to eat, and it’s kinda cool to see these little things growing in your own home. So if you’ve ever had an inclination to try it, check out some of these videos to learn more about it… click HERE and HERE.

Wheat Meat
I have not yet attempted this process, but I know it is an option and therefore wanted to put it out to you. Creating wheat meat is done by washing your wheat flour until you are left with just the gluten (or you can start with just vital wheat gluten), seasoning the gluten, adding water/broth to create a rubbery mixture, and then boiling, frying, baking, or even grilling your ‘meat’. I will definitely try this at some point and share my information with you, but until then, if you are interested in exploring this further, you can check out the Preparedness Pro blog for her instructions or search the internet for more information on how to create ‘wheat meat’. Otherwise, stay posted until I get a chance to delve into this interesting arena. 🙂

*Reminder* Don’t forget to drink lots of water when you’re eating a lot of whole grains (especially if you’re just starting to incorporate them into your diet!)

So get going on using your wonderful wheat and start enjoying some delicious, nutritious, better-for-you foods. It’ll be sure to put a smile on your face. 🙂

Photos courtesy of: mybaby.com; 101Cookbooks.com; 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Heaven; and PreparednessPro.com respectively

Food Storage: Purchasing and Storing Wheat

Well, now that we all know how wonderful wheat is, we should be making it a priority to get more of this golden goodness into our homes. But before you just go out and spend your hard earned dollars on a load from the farmer down the road (I wish!), there are a few things you’ll want to consider: the type of wheat; the quality of wheat; and how to store your wheat.

Types of Wheat
There are many different types of wheat. The most common types or categories include: Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Hard White, Durum, Soft Red Winter, and Soft White. Durum is the hardest of all the wheats. It is used for making semolina flour for pasta. The hard wheats are all high in protein (with the Hard Red Spring having the highest percentage) and are best for breads, rolls, tortillas, noodles, and used as an all-purpose type flour. The soft wheats are lower in protein and are better suited for cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, and snack foods in general. The white wheats are closely related to the red (with the exception of the color genes) and don’t really differ in nutritional value from the red. White wheats have a more mild and sweet flavor, equal fiber, and similar milling and baking properties to their red counterparts.
Based on this information, as well as from personal experience working with different kinds of wheat, I have decided that my go-to wheat is the hard white wheat. I have not tried working with any soft wheat yet, but since I don’t even mind the hard white wheat in my cookies, I could only really see trying the soft wheat for a cake purpose. Maybe I’ll have to give that a go sometime soon. 🙂

Purchasing Quality Wheat
Now, even with the above information, it’s important to note that not all wheat is the same. Who you purchase from and the quality of wheat they produce is an important factor in your investment. When purchasing your wheat, be sure that you are buying wheat that is specifically prepared for human consumption. You can buy wheat a lot cheaper if it is for animals, but this is NOT the wheat you want for your family. Also be sure that your wheat has 10% moisture content or less, and 13% protein or more (it should say this somewhere on the packaging). And finally, you want to make sure that you are not purchasing damaged or broken wheat grains. The broken grains release their Vitamin E oils, which causes the wheat to go rancid. This obviously would not be good for storage purposes. So check your wheat out first, or purchase from a reputable source so that your wheat will be good and stay good for years to come.

Storing Your Wheat
• Store your wheat in a cool, dry location (preferrably under 77º F with no more than 50-60% humidity)
• Store wheat in an air tight, opaque container. You could use mylar bags, buckets, or cans.
• Properly stored wheat will have a shelf life of at least 30 years.
• When storing wheat for long-term use, you will need a way to fight off any weevil infestations. I do not recommend using oxygen absorbers, as these will not only kill the bugs, but there is a chance it can kill your wheat as well. Instead use 1 Tbsp of Diatomaceous Earth per 5-gallon bucket, which is lethal to the bugs but will not kill off your wheat. (Please note that when I say oxygen absorbers can ‘kill’ your wheat, that means that the wheat is no longer ‘living’ and can no longer be sprouted (although some people have still successfully sprouted wheat that was stored with oxygen absorbers). ‘Non-living’ wheat can, however, still be ground into flour and used that way without any issues, although it is slightly less nutritious than its ‘live’ counterparts.) You can find Diatomaceous Earth (DE) online or sometimes locally in feed stores or garden nurseries. Just make sure that whatever you purchase is 100% Diatomaceous Earth. Some that you can find in the stores are about 85% DE with various percents of oxides and fillers. So make sure you read the labels before you buy. You can read more about DE  HERE and HERE. And if you can’t find any of the good kind locally (which I can’t), the best places I’ve found online are HERE and HERE. Just be aware that shipping almost always doubles the cost. I just bought 10 lbs for $14, but  shipping is another $14. Or you can get 5 lbs for $11 and shipping is another $11. A little expensive, but remember that a little will go a long way and it will last you for a long time. And if you’re wondering what in the world you would do with 10 lbs of DE, you can also use it as pest control around the house, and there are also a lot of benefits to using it yourself. You can read about that HERE.)

Well, I guess that about covers our ‘purchasing and storing wheat’ segment. At some point in the future we’ll go into more fun details about wheat for those who are interested… such as sprouting wheat, making ‘wheat meat’, and other fun topics. Until then, go and get your grains!

Sources and Additional Information:
Types Of Wheat
Preparedness Pro

Food Storage: Wheat- The Golden Grain

*Don’t forget about this weeks’ GIVEAWAY! You have until Friday at midnight (CST) to enter to win!*

Well, now that we’ve covered the basics of getting our food storage together, let’s get into some good information about these foods we’re storing. Why? Because I gotta tell ya… it is so much more fun to store them once you know how awesome they are! And to start it off, let’s talk about one of the most amazing of all… wheat!

Technically, wheat is a plant (grass), and what we eat (or grind into flour) are actually the wheat berries (which is the grain). However, most of us refer to the wheat berries simply as wheat. For simplicity purposes, I will also do the same.

Wheat really is amazing. Just look at all of these awesome aspects:

  • It can be a carbohydrate, a vegetable (sprouted), and even a “meat” (wheat gluten)
  • It has nearly an indefinite shelf life when stored properly (they have found living wheat (meaning the grain was able to be sprouted) that was stored in the Egyptian pyramids thousands of years ago!)
  • It’s inexpensive (even with the costs rising)
  • It’s extremely nutritious–it contains 7 of the 8 essential amino acids our body needs as well as many valuable minerals and vitamins

And that’s just scratching the surface. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of whole wheat:

  • Whole wheat is a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese which helps to regulate your body functions.
  • It also helps to regulate your blood pressure, hormones, strengthen your heart functions, and lower cholesterol.
  • Other benefits range from cancer prevention to protection against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and free radical damage to the structure of your cells.
  • It also helps maintain a healthy body weight since you can eat less and still be full compared to the processed and refined flours (not to mention you will be full for a longer amount of time as well).

Amazing, right?! All this from a little bitty grain. I’m telling y’all… it really is worth its weight in gold!

However, there is a word of caution to be said as well. You can wreak havoc on your body if you go too quickly from having no whole wheat in your diet to a diet where all of your carbs are whole wheat (and by ‘wreak havoc’ I mean severe dehydration and potentially death). Yes… it can be that hard on your body to make such a huge and dramatic switch in a short period of time. SO. That being said, may I suggest that if you currently do not include whole wheat in your diet, that you start working it in. Again, don’t just switch cold turkey (although it’s tempting now that you know how amazing this stuff is, right?!). 🙂 Start by using half white and half wheat flour to make things like your breads and cookies. If you don’t make your own bread, purchase breads that list “whole wheat” (and not just ‘wheat’) as the first ingredient. Find little ways to start integrating it into your diet so that when the time comes when you do need to rely on your wheat storage, your body will not go into shock. (Note: A severe diet change like this would be particularly hard on young children. So PLEASE be sure that any children you have at home are regularly getting whole wheat in their diets.)

One other thing to be aware of is that some people suffer allergies to wheat (or more specifically the gluten content in the wheat). This is known as Celiac Disease. People with this sensitivity cannot eat wheat in its carbohydrate form. However, many of them can still eat wheat if it is sprouted into its vegetable state (although, it would be wise to still use caution and use another option if it is available). Always be sure to store other forms of whole grain in the event that you or one of your loved ones will not be able to consume whole wheat.

Alright. I think that about does it for now. 🙂 Next week we’ll talk about how to purchase and store our wheat. Until then, happy and healthy eating to y’all!