a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#5 What If . . . WHEAT -- when the grocery shelves are empty!

This Tuesday and Thursday series of posts is to help you prepare for the time when the grocery store shelves may be empty---something that can happen quickly even if there is just the potential for some type of emergency. Please check out all the others under the "What If. . .?" heading, especially the post on water---the absolute essential for sustaining life.

Also, please consider making these "storage" items a part of your everyday life---giving you peace of mind while saving you money!

Opps! I got my days mixed up. This should have been Thursday's post.

WHEAT is considered the most basic of all food storage items. When stored correctly, wheat will keep almost indefinitely (it is said that edible wheat has been found in the tombs of Egypt), and it is very nutritious. Eight ounces of wheat provides 30 grams of protein, over 1 milligram of thiamin, 8 milligrams of niacin, 6 milligrams of iron, some riboflavin and other nutrients. It can be easily prepared in a wide variety of dishes---from breakfast cereals to bread to main courses to dessert.

Wheat Terms
Berries: This is the wheat kernel itself. The kernel or berry can be "dissected" as follows--
  • Bran: The outer covering of the wheat, made up of four layers, rich in minerals, protein, and vitamin B.
  • Wheat Germ: The small area of the kernel in which new life is located and which will, under proper conditions, germinate. The wheat germ is rich in vitamin B complex, vitamin E, and also protein, fat and mineral matter. Calcium for bone and teeth is also supplied from these two parts of the wheat.
  • Endosperm: the bulk of the kernel, where cellulose, starch and gluten are abundant. It contains no vitamins and very little mineral substance. White flour is made principally from the endosperm.
Bulgar: The term used for wheat kernels that have been softened by soaking or steaming, and then dried.
Cracked Wheat: Wheat that has been ground with the grinding stones not as close together as for flour, creating a coarser product---often used for cooked cereal and as an additional fiber source in "nutty" breads.

Chew Whole Wheat Berries! 
Pop a small handful into your mouth and chew it. After a while the sandy bran will be gone and you will be left with a "chewing gum."

Types of Wheat and Flour
Hard red or white varieties are best for bread-making.
Soft red or white varieties are better for making pastries and crackers.

Hard red wheat and hard white wheat are the most common options for long-term storage. They contain similar amounts of protein and fiber but they differ in color and taste. Hard red wheat, reddish in color, has a stronger, nuttier flavor and makes delicious bread. Hard white, golden color, has a more subtle flavor  that is easily disguised in baked goods.

To substitute  White Whole Wheat Flour for other flours use the the following guidelines:
1 cup white whole wheat flour = 1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup + 1 T. white whole wheat flour = 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup + 1 T white whole wheat flour - 1 cup regular whole wheat flour

Whole Wheat Flour -- this flour, made by grinding whole grain wheat kernels, includes the grain's nutrient-rich bran and germ. Nutritionally speaking, whole wheat flour is superior to refined flour. Sadly , many people grew up eating refined baked goods and find whole grain products too heavy for their taste. A good way to learn to enjoy whole grain flours is to use part whole wheat and part unbleached flour in recipes, gradually increasing the amount of whole wheat.

While whole wheat berries store for years, ground whole wheat flour loses nutrients and can become rancid quickly. It is recommended that if you grind your own whole wheat that you grind one week's worth of flour at a time and keep it in the refrigerator.

Wheat in Realistic Terms
You can buy wheat in # 10 cans (gallon size), 40 or 50 pound buckets or 100 hundred pound bags. A #10 can of wheat weighs 6 pounds, equals 14 cups of wheat, and grinds to about 21 cups of flour.

One  #10 can of wheat will provide the flour necessary to make:
  • 7 large loaves of raised bread
  • 10-12 loaves of "quick" bread (banana, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.)
  • 10 batches of pancakes (15 4-inch pancakes per batch)
  • 10 batches of biscuits
  • 10 batches of chocolate chip cookies
Blender Wheat Berry Pancakes
1 cup wheat berries, uncooked
1-1/2 cups milk (or 1/4 cup non-instant or 1/2 cup instant powdered milk and 1cup + 1/2 cup water)
1 egg
3 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 T oil
Combine wheat berries and milk (or milk powder and water) in blender. Blend on high for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour pancake batter onto hot greased griddle or large frying pan, cooking until bubbles pop and create holes. Flip pancakes to finish cooking.

Wheat Berry Batter Bread
2-1/4 cups regular all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 packet (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 cup wheat berries that have been cooked until tender and drained
1 cup warm water or liquid drained from cooking the wheat berries
cornmeal for coating bread pan
1 T. melted butter or margarine

Cook and drain the wheat berries, saving the liquid if desired. Set both aside. Combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, gradually beat in the warm water. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes or until dough is very elastic. Add wheat berries. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in remaining 3/4 cup flour---the dough should be very soft and elastic. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Stir dough down with a wooden spoon. Grease 4x8 inch loaf pan and coat with cornmeal; tap pan to shake out excess. Spoon dough into pan. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean and the crust is well-browned. Remove from pan. Place on rack to cool. Brush top with melted butter.

Wheat Chili
Soak 2 cups wheat berries, in enough water to allow for expansion, overnight. Drain. Brown 1 pound ground beef* and one medium chopped onion. Combine the drained wheat and the meat mixture in a crock pot. Add:
one quart or one 28-ounce can tomatoes
1/2 cup catsup
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
a little bit of brown sugar to taste
additional tomato sauce or tomato paste, if needed for desired consistency
Cook in crock pot for about 12 hours.
*may use beef-flavored TVP (textured vegetable protein) in place of ground beef. TVP does not have to be browned.

'til we meet again,
          Simply, Gail

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