Prepping on Pennies: #1 Get to know wheat
A lot has been said about stocking up on wheat and the need for hundreds of pounds of wheat per person per day. What a lot of preppers may not realize is just how budget-friendly wheat can be, and once you have it, all the inexpensive ways it can be served.
First, find a good source of good wheat.
To find the cheapest wheat in your part of the country, give the local LDS church or cannery a call. They will probably know of local resources or farmers who deliver wheat to your area on a regular basis. If you live near a large city, track down health food or “natural” food stores and tell them you’d like to buy it in bulk. What’s their best price? If you are fortunate enough to have a local Honeyville store in your area, I just bought 50 pounds of hard white wheat for less than $16. For Starbucks fans, that’s just three Caramel Frappuccinos!
If your only option is to purchase wheat from an online store, see if there’s a reduced shipping charge for larger purchases. Honeyville’s shipping is $4.99, total. In comparison, I checked out the shipping charge for just two pounds of wheat at Bob’s Red Mill, and found it was almost double, $8.85. Walton Feed is another source of wheat, but again, the shipping prices are quite high. Your best bet may be to ask around and see if you can get a group of friends together to place a bulk order as well as to compare prices vs. the shipping charge.
One more possibility is to contact Grandpa’s Grains to see if they are able to deliver wheat to your area. This family-owned company is out of Idaho and make regular deliveries here in Arizona, but they want to expand to other states. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like more information about deliveries to your hometown.
Second, decide which wheat you want to buy.
Not sure which type of wheat to buy first? Go for hard white wheat first. It’s the most useful of all the wheat types, and don’t worry if it’s labeled, “spring”, or, “winter”. There’s a slight difference between the gluten amounts in spring vs. winter, but for food storage purposes, wheat is wheat. It’s all good. Hard white wheat is what you’ll use for everything from bread to tortillas to crackers. My suggestion is to stock up on hard white first and plan for it to be the basis of your stored wheat, 50% or so of the total.
If you love heartier, darker breads, experiment with hard red wheat. A loaf of bread made from this wheat will look more like the store-bought “wheat” bread. Some SurvivalMoms combine hard red and hard white when they grind their flour and find their family prefers that flavor and texture. Buy a small amount of hard red wheat for
your experimenting just in case you or your family says, “ewwwww!” and you’re stuck with a hundred pounds or more of the stuff.
The third type of wheat to have in your pantry is soft white wheat. This wheat provides the best type of flour for pastries, things like cookies, pie crust, cakes and brownies. About 25% of my wheat is soft white. I’m not much of a baker, and sometimes a ten-pound bag of flour can last for months in my pantry. Your situation is probably different. You’re probably one of those good moms who treat their families to dessert every night! Not all of us can live up to that standard!
Third, buy a wheat grinder/mill.
This step will be the most expensive, unless you listen to me carefully. All around the country are women and men who thought they would love nothing better than to grind their own wheat and create a picture-perfect loaf of bread for their families every day. After a while that got old, and now they want to rid themselves of that bothersome wheat grinder. You’ll find these grinders, or mills, on eBay, Craigslist, and even Freecycle. If you’re just starting out on your wheat journey, buy a mill at the cheapest price you can.
As preppers, we aren’t in this “wheat thing” as a lark or a fad. We take it seriously, but unless you have a wheat mill, there’s really no point in stocking up on wheat. I’d like to send my kids outside with a bag of wheat and a metate or two, but really, a mill is more practical. Buy an electric mill first but plan on buying a manual, hand mill when you can afford it. It will be your back-up in case of a power outage. The metate will be the back-up to your back-up.
Fourth, learn how to make inexpensive foods using wheat.
I’ll have plenty of recipe suggestions that are super-easy on your wallet. You can read all about them tomorrow in Prepping on Pennies: #2, Wheat’s on the menu!
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