Posts Tagged ‘long term grain storage’
Animal feed grain, as long as it is pure, plain grain, can be perfect for low cost long term food storage. If stored properly, whole grain can last for 30 years or longer and retain its full freshness. Whole grain “animal feed” can be a perfect low cost survival food. Often, “feed grain” is fine for human consumption if it is just pure, whole grain.
No matter whether you are stocking up on food for long term survival or putting away for disaster preparedness, an affordable source of whole grains is an important addition to your larder. Whole grains store much better than processed or crushed grain. Most of the grain you can find in the grocery store has been processed to some degree. Once the grain kernel has been broken open, the grain starts to loose its freshness. Processed wheat flour will not last more than a year or two, at best. Whole grain wheat, on the other hand, can last hundreds of years if stored carefully.
You can find free food grade plastic buckets at your local ice cream shops or restaurants. These make perfect long term storage containers for your whole grain. They are food grade, so there is no problem with leaching chemicals into your food. And they can be sealed to keep out rodents, insects and dirt. They are also somewhat moisture proof as well.
You can visit your local animal feed suppliers and find pure corn, wheat or oats for about $10 for a 50 lb bag, about a tenth of the price if you bought grain at the grocery store. Look up the company online and visit their website for information about their grain. If you cannot find what you are looking for, then call them and ask. Make sure there are no additives such as medicine, vitamins or preservatives and you will have a great source of grain for human consumption.
The DIY World has put together a video about purchasing and storage of whole grain animal feed for survival food.
You can watch the video here:
Buy whole grain animal feed for cheap long term survival storage. Storage, preparation and use of whole grains.
Buying Cheap Whole Grain
After many weeks of research and considering the idea of buying “horse feed” for long term food storage, I finally broke down and got a bag. You can find bulk grains at animal feed stores for much cheaper than grain packaged as “people food” and it is normally the exact same thing. The “people food” may be cleaned and sorted a bit more. In animal feed you may find a bit of stone or husks in the bag. But for a fraction of the price – who cares? Stocking up for long term survival food storage on a budget does not allow for expensive, fancy packaging and shipping fees.
Tractor Supply has animal feed grain in 50 pound bags at very affordable prices. I went online and studied the Producers Pride grain ingredients and they claim to have just pure, whole grain and nothing else. No additives, preservatives or chemicals.
The oats sell at $14.50 for a 50 pound bag and I had a coupon for a dollar off. Last night I picked up a bag and took it home. I immediately tore the bag open and found that the oats are still in the hull. That will not matter after I run it through my hand crank grain mill to make my own rolled oats for oatmeal. I can just blow off the chaff after I am done rolling the oats.
First, I had to overcome the idea that this was “animal feed”. After looking at the grain in my hands for a few minutes, I decided to try some. Having grown up near a farm, I often ate handfuls of whole, fresh grain out of the fields. So I shelled a couple and tried them. It is very good. Reminds me of my childhood days.
An online search shows whole oats selling for about $60 on average anywhere else, packaged for human consumption. Oatmeal sells at the grocery store for a couple dollars per pound. That adds up to about $100 for fifty pounds of oatmeal. And as soon as you crush, roll or grind any whole grain, it will immediately start to lose its vitamins and shelf life. Most grain products in the grocery store have lost most of their vitamins by the time you get them home. Normally the vitamin rich outer layer is ground off the grain to give it a longer shelf life. And then many companies add synthetic vitamins back into their products in order to give it any “food value” at all. Artificial, synthetic vitamins are not as good for you as natural ingredients.
I will go back tonight and get a 50 pound bag of whole grain corn to put away as well. Some of it I will pack in smaller tupperware containers for immediate use. The rest will go into larger food grade plastic containers from restaurants for long term storage.
Storage Of Whole Grain
Good, whole grain is naturally shelf stable. But as soon as you modify the grain in any way, it looses its natural shelf life and begins to break down. To get the most vitamins out of your grain products, you should grind the grain yourself and use the flour immediately. Only make what you will use and do not make any extra.
For long term food storage for the purpose of disaster preparedness or survival, you should repackage your bulk grain in smaller, air tight containers. Plastic buckets from restaurants are good. You simply ask around and can usually find a bunch of them in your neighborhood for free. Use only food grade plastic containers for your food storage. Many suggest that you should also add chemicals to remove the oxygen and moisture, but 1,000s of years ago, they did not have all the chemicals we use today and got along just fine. To be extra sure of good, long shelf life, you can vacuum seal the grain in smaller portions before packing them into larger food grade 5 gallon buckets.
You may want to deep freeze the grain for a while before packaging it in order to kill off any insects or eggs. You can place smaller portions in your freezer for a few days. Or, if you live in a colder climate, you can place the grain outside in the winter and let freeze for a few days. If you do this, be sure to keep it dry. Freeze it in the sealed containers it will be stored in and leave it sealed. No matter which method you choose, allow the grain to warm up slowly again to prevent condensation build up in the grain.
Store your grain at 70 degrees or below for best shelf life. If you have a root cellar, basement or a good, deep hole in the ground, even better. The ground stays at a stable 50 degrees all year round. This temperature is perfect for long term food storage. I plan to make a simple, free root cellar by digging a square hole in the ground about 8 feet deep and covering it with boards. This will be great for short term meat, milk and cheese storage as well. Canned foods can also be kept under ground on shelves or on pallets. If you have access to cement blocks and can line the hole with them, even better. Cover it all with about 6 – 9 feet of dirt and you have a nice bomb shelter as well.
Using your whole grain
You can eat your grain raw, cooked, boiled, sprouted, ground up and made into bread or crushed.
Wheat, rye and oats taste good raw. To get the most vitamins out of your grain, you can sprout it. Sprouts are some of the healthiest foods you can get. Sprouting grain increases the vitamins available to you. Sprouting grain is very simple. Soak the grain for a couple hours in fresh, clean water. Drain and rinse the grain and spread it out on a single layer and cover lightly with a towel. Keep the grain moist at all times and rinse and drain again every 8 to 12 hours. Continue the cycle until they have sprouted. You can store the sprouts in the fridge for one or two weeks.
If you grind the grain, remember, do not make more than you will use at a one time. The flour looses vitamins soon after it is ground. Whole grain breads and baked goods take some getting used to because they have a richer flavor and are darker in color than bleached (useless) flour. But again, for thousands of years people were using whole grain goods and survived quite well.
You can course grind your grain to make hot cereal. Only grind what you will use up soon in order to keep all the vitamins and nutrients.
No matter how you use whole grains, you will surely notice a difference in taste and quality over prepackaged, processed foods.