Friday, December 22, 2006

Wheat, Wonderful Wheat.

Wheat. It should form the foundation of your long term food stores. Stored correctly, it will last forever. Basically, just keep it dry and bug free. Supposedly, wheat found in Pharaoh’s tomb was still able to sprout lo, those many years later.

Wheat is cheap. Sure, you can buy it canned and nitrogen sealed from some kind of distributor. If you do – good for you! They can use your support. But you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself also.

You can get it at the local feed store for just a few bucks for 100 pounds. Don't have a "local" feed store? Well then move! Okay, you may have to drive to the country. It will be worth it.

Get some five gallon buckets – you can buy them at Chinamart or you can get them for free from the local bakery or deli. Line them with plain Glad trash bags (I wrote to Glad and they don’t use anything weird in or on their bags – like insecticide). Pour in some wheat, add a fist-sized chunk of dry ice and fill the rest of the way up with more wheat.

Loosely twist the bag shut and leave the buckets alone until the carbon dioxide from the dissolving dry ice displaces the oxygen in your bucket/bag. This can take a few hours until the bag stops inflating due to the escaping oxygen and temperature difference. Once they have all calmed down – twist the bags shut and put the lids on.

I wait an additional couple hours just to make sure and then tape the lids on with duct tape. There is now almost no oxygen left in the bucket. See, no matter how “clean” the wheat was when you purchased it, it still may have insect eggs in it. If they hatched, they would eat your wheat. Now if they hatch, they will die from lack of oxygen and you won't even notice them - too small. You can also kill them off by freezing the product for three days. Just set the buckets outside if it’s going to stay below freezing for a few days.

What to do with the wheat? The obvious answer is to use a mill to grind it into flour and make bread. You can also make pasta. In a pinch, you can boil it and make gruel. Not tasty in that form - but add some brown sugar and raisins and you are getting somewhere!

Mills are another subject for another time. Do not delay putting up some wheat just because you don't yet have a grinding mill. Back in the day, Millers would grind folks grain and be paid with some of it. They would then use it themselves and sell the excess. You may be able to do the same. Cresson Kearny describes using three pieces of rebar in a coffee can as a kind of mortar and pestle. "Nuclear War Survival Skills" is his work. It is available for free on the net. Google is your friend.

For now - just put up some wheat. You may be glad you did.


At 15/1/07 12:21, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding storage containers, I'd suggest putting a little more thought into what type of plastic you are using. Non food grade plastics can render your food stores toxic to some extent or another which is no good for long term survival. :) A great source of free food-grade buckets is your local bakery. They get stuff like cake frosting, cream cheese, etc. by the bucket and end up throwing most of them out or selling them super cheap. These buckets will always be food grade. Depending on what was in those buckets, you will want to soak them in a chlorox solution to leech out the aromas so they don't taint your foodstuffs. Some buckets like pickle buckets should be completely avoided for this reason.


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