Guest post by Debbie Cee
Rice is the staple grain of a large part of the world. It is cheap, easy to buy in any grocery store, and stores well. Rice can be stored the same way as wheat. You can buy buckets already sealed from online stores or do it yourself. Freezing rice for at least two days before packing it is a good idea, as this will kill any insect eggs in the rice. You can buy rice sealed in cans, too, but I find the amounts too small and too expensive for my family. We have a recycled pretzel jug full of rice in the larder and cook it two or three cups at a time, a couple times a week.
In an emergency, you can cook rice by boiling water, adding it to rice in a pot, then wrapping the pot in blankets or towels and letting it sit for half an hour or so. This is very fuel efficient, which will probably be important in a long-term emergency.
Cooked rice can stretch your available dog food as well. Dogs digest rice well, and rice is cheaper and easier to store then dog food. Rice is wonderful. Store lots.
Oatmeal is great for cookies, you can make your own granola with it, and of course it is a healthy, hearty hot cereal. You can boil oatmeal and wrap it in a towel as you can with rice. The oatmeal my family buys, though, is flakes, not a whole grain. It will not keep as well in your larder as a whole grain will. I bought cans of whole, rolled oats so I could store it and forget it unless I need it. Another family may use enough oatmeal day to day that rotating larder supplies work better for them.
I think hot oatmeal will be very welcome for breakfasts in an emergency. I cook oatmeal on weekends occasionally to keep it a familiar food to my kids, but I have to admit we use more oatmeal for cookies than hot cereal, normally. For me, it works better to keep most of my oatmeal as a long term supply.
Next is the all-American starch, corn. Corn bread, corn tortillas, grits and polenta are made from corn. It is harder to grind corn then wheat, but you can do it. Just check your grain mill’s directions to make sure it is designed to grind corn. Popcorn is a wonderful comfort food. I have jars of it in my larder. You can store corn kernels and grind them to make cornmeal. Dent corn makes the best cornmeal. I use canned corn and popcorn in my normal cooking, and I buy ground corn for my occasional baking uses.
I have chosen not to store corn kernels for my long term supplies because I do not come from a background that uses ground corn routinely and see no great need to change my family’s food consumption into heavier, ground corn consumers. If we were used to eating grits and cornbread often, I’d store as much corn as I do wheat and rice.
Potatoes, although not a grain, are a staple food to this northerner and very healthy and easy to cook with. I was very pleased to find dehydrated potato dices at a good price and have stored them in a couple of long term storage buckets. I set aside a gallon jug’s worth to practice with and have found that it makes an excellent base for hash browns and is perfect to toss into a soup. I should probably watch for another sale since we are a potato eating family.
I have several boxes of instant mashed potatoes in my larder. My kids love them, and they are a super quick food to make for dinner. With my waistline I prefer to not eat them, however!
There are many other grain choices to look into, and I have only covered the basics. Look at what your family normally eats to judge what to base your storage on. Sometimes you will have to adjust your family’s diet to make your food storage easier. This is best done slowly and started as soon as possible. I save a lot of money with my stored grains, buying a large amount when I can get it on sale or at a very good price and then saving money every time I serve it.