Saturday, April 3, 2010

Food Storage Series: Wheat

About Wheat

1 cup dry wheat = about 2 cups cooked
1 cup whole wheat = about 1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cracked wheat = 2 2/3 cups cooked

It is believed that wheat was first domesticated from wild grasses as long ago as 9,000 B.C It has been found in the pyramids of Egypt. Wheat is mentioned throughout the Bible and has been a food of man throughout history. It is considered the most important grain crop in the world, providing 40 - 60% of the available energy and protein in developing countries.

Rinse whole wheat kernels before sprouting or cooking, but do not wash before grinding or milling.

When starting to use whole wheat flour in place of white in your baking, make the transition gradually by first replacing just half of the white flour with the same amount of whole wheat flour.

How to Crack Wheat

There are numerous flour mills and grinders, and come in either electric or hand-turned. Determine what the needs of your family are, and then purchase what will fill that need.

Small amounts of wheat, about 3/4 cup at a time, can be cracked in a blender. Blenders are not made for grinding large amounts of wheat and will not be able to grind enough flour for bread.

An emergency hand grinder can be made using a tall empty juice or #10 can with one end removed and three 30" lengths of ordinary steel water pipe. Cut pipe ends even, file metal slivers off and duct tape pipes together. Put clean, dry grain 1" deep in can. To prevent blisters, wear gloves. Place can on a smooth, hard, solid surface such as concrete. To pound the grain, sit with the can held between your feet. Move the pipes straight up and down about 3", with a rapid stroke.

If no grinder is available, soaked and/or spouted wheat kernels can be pounded with a mallet.

Methods For Cooking Wheat

Rinse and cook whole wheat using one of the methods below. Soaking wheat cuts cooking time in half but isn't required. This ready to use wheat may be safely stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Stove Top: Place 3 cups water, 1 cup whole wheat and 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Cover and soak overnight. Do not drain. In the morning, stir wheat and heat to boiling in the same water. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Leave covered for 5 minutes.

Crock Pot: Mix 1 cup of wheat, 4 cups of water, 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt in crock pot. Cook overnight on low setting.

Oven: Combine 1 cup wheat, 3 cups water, 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Place pan in a 300 degree F pre-heated oven. Shut door and turn heat off. Let sit overnight.

Pressure Cooker: Put 1 cup wheat, 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a pressure cooker. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Pressure 15 minutes at 15 lbs. pressure. Do not "quick release" lid. Turn off heat and let pressure go down naturally.

Thermos Wheat: Place 1 cup wheat in a thermos. Add 1/2 salt and 2 cups boiling water. Let stand 3-4 hours.

Wheat Grass

Cereal grasses have been used as human food supplements since the 1930s. All have very similar nutritional value, but wheat is favored for its availability and ease of growing.

Plant wheat in a wooden, clay or plastic planting try or pot. Whatever planter is used, it MUST have drainage holes in the bottom. Any soil will do, and the amount is up to you. The more soil used, the more water it can hold, the longer time between waterings, but heavier if it needs to be moved.

Soak wheat 24 hours in room-temperature water. Spread on thouroughly moistened soil and sprinkle lightly with dry soil. Dampen with water several times a day. Place in a low-light, room-temperature location. After shoots appear in 2-4 days, keep soil damp by watering at the roots. When still quite small, it is best to keep shoots away from direct light. Wait until shoots are 1-1 1/2 " tall to expose to light. To "green up" the grass, water well just before harvest and expose to light. The darker the color, the stronger the taste, but with increased nutrients.

Harvest by cutting 1/4 ' 1/2" above the soil when grass is about 6" tall. Grass can produce a 2nd and 3rd crop if watering is continued after the first crop is cut.

Grass stores about 6 days when refrigerated in a plastic bag. Grasses are usually juiced, but you can also put them in stir-fry, salad, bread, white sauce or soup.

Cracked Wheat recipes are contained in the Wheat Recipes at Simply Recipes. I'll put up some recipes about Wheat Grass in the next couple of days.

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