Guest post by Debbie Cee
The best thing about buying foods in the grain group is that they are rather inexpensive, for the most part. You can stock up in grocery stores easily without having to go to emergency supply stores if you want. When I expand my food stores from, for example, one month to two months, I start with getting in the grain food group first. Then I add the more expensive and time consuming storage foods in meats, veggies and fruits to that base of grains.
The grain food group includes starches, or carbohydrates. Wheat, rice, potatoes, corn and oats are the most common foods in this group. Wheat includes all products made with flour as well as the survivalist staple of storage, whole wheat berries. Grains will give you the energy you need for physical labor and battling cold or wet weather. On the other hand, too many grain food products when you are not physically active will put weight on you and your family in a hurry.
From a survivalist’s perspective, foods can be divided into short, medium and long term. My medium-term supplies are aimed at a 12-week time frame, since most any emergency can be covered by 12 weeks and because a 12-week time frame seems to guarantee I will find a good sale for any grocery or warehouse club food. Saving money every day with my food stores while being prepared for an emergency is a win-win situation for me.
My medium-term grain supplies include both ready-to-eat grains, such as crackers, cereals and snacks along with foods that need to be cooked, such as rice, pasta, oatmeal and instant potatoes. I have read accounts from people who store food who have had to deal with ice storms and hurricanes, and a common wish is that they had stored more prepared foods for the duration of the weather event and the clean up afterward.
The only problem with stocking ready-to-eat grains is that children (and adults) have a tendency to raid the supplies. I have a lock on my store room door – but unfortunately I have the key, as does my husband. My current challenge is to buy foods my children like but aren’t a constant temptations for me!
After my medium-length food storage was set up and working, I started focusing on long-term storage. This is food I buy and pack, or buy already packed, to put in the back of my cellar and forget about until and unless a long term emergency happens. I’m hoping to never use this supply. I chose long-term grain supplies for their flexibility and how easy they would be to use in a true SHTF long-term emergency.
Wheat is the traditional staple for long term storage and is the traditional starch for Europeans and Americans. You can cook un-ground wheat, called wheat berries, into a hot cereal. Cold, the cooked wheat berries can be added to salads. If you grind the wheat berries, you have flour. With flour you can make bread, pancakes, tortillas and cookies. My kids would work at grinding wheat by hand for pancakes or cookies. I’m sure of that. I also have a gadget to make pasta with, too, when life calms down following a crisis, or there’s a long term event, and I end up making my own pasta. You can buy a hand grinder for under $100 or for over $300. I currently have a lower end hand grinder and will buy a second when I see a good sale. For me, two cheaper ones are a better choice then one good quality expensive one.
Wheat can be stored for a year in a normal plastic container or for long-term in a bucket or can with an oxygen absorber. I am slowly transferring wheat from 50 lb. sacks into buckets for my long-term storage. Online sources for wheat include Shelf Reliance, the Blue Chip Group and Emergency Essentials who will send it to you already packed in buckets for long-term storage. I also have gallon jugs that used to hold pretzels full of wheat berries in my larder in order to have smaller amounts of wheat handy for everyday cooking.
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