Jul142010

13 Comments

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.

photo by FleurP

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 grandpasgrainaz@gmail.com, 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

image by adactio

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!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(13) Readers Comments

  1. You are so right to put wheat as #1 prepping for pennies. It really is a bang for your buck. Wheat is so awesome! I use wheat flour for all my baking-sometimes half and half with white flour. The cooked berries are wonderful as a cereal and make green salad a hearty meal (great combined with garbanzo beans). Wheat berries are easy to sprout , crunchy with a sweet nutty taste. So very useful in many ways! You can use the cracked berries to make mock hamburger/sausage patties as well. I am not LDS but they allow you to order through their welfare services which has proven most economical for me. It is hard red wheat and comes in #10 cans. I also have hard white wheat in buckets from Pleasant Hill Grain.

  2. 50#'s of wheat for $13.00? When I went to Honeyville, it was 42.99. Was there a typo?

    • No mistake. If you purchase from their retail stores, it's less than $13 for 50 lbs. I paid exactly $12.49. That's why if you're anywhere near one of their stores, it's worth the drive.

  3. CostCo had 45 lbs for $14…already in nice big bucket.

    • Which Costco was that? Do you have an item number and description? And can it be ordered online in case my local store doesn't carry that item? I love Costco, and it'd be great to be able to buy my wheat there. Thanks for any info you can provide.

    • Which part of Costco did you find it in?

      My kids are learning how to bake because if they can bake it, they can eat it. We're mostly on boxed mixes now, but I'm going to do soft pretzels and cakes from scratch soon. (I'd do brownies, but there is pretty much no way anything I made could touch the Giardelli brownie mix from Costco without waaaay too much work.)

    • I'm new to long term food storage. Is the CostCo wheat in the bucket ready to be placed on the self or does it have to be repacked?

      • I'm not sure how Costco packages the wheat, but I'm sure you can just pack it away. If you want to buy some mylar bags and repackage it, you could be sure of a lengthy shelf life, but I don't think it's necessary.

  4. What brand do you recommend for a good hand crank mill?

    • Tammy,
      I'm interested in that too!
      The Wondermill's Wonder Jr. Deluxe seems popular, but the $200 price tag will hit my budget hard.

    • Just a note on hand mills, you have to spend a little money to get something worth having. The Wonder Junior Deluxe hand grain mill is the one I would recommend because it is a quallity mill without the huge price, the best hand mill near the Wonder Junior level of quallity is the Country Living Grain Mill which is about $500. I definately would not recommend the Back to Basics hand mill because it frankly is a piece of junk that will possibly not last long enough to benifit you in an extended emergency plus it is hard and slow to use.

  5. Wow! Thanks so much for the tip on the honeyville retail store! I live near the new Rancho store in California and had no idea it was there till I read this post. Called them this morning to price the white winter wheat and they quoted me $14 and some change for a 50lb bag! That is dirt cheap (for around here any way.. best I had found was at minimum double that price.) I am through thr roof on rice and beans and have been holding off on the wheat because of the price. I'll have 500lbs next week now when I take a trip over there, all for around $150. I have been getting really nervous NOT having this staple in my food storage.

    • Hey, I'm going to be teaching two classes at that store on August 28! If you can make it, I'd love to meet you! Check out the times and classes under my "Class Registration" tab, and congrats on being the proud owner of all that wheat!

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