wheat-investment

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By Kellene Bishop

How long will your wheat last? What’s the best way to store it? How do I keep insects out of it?  What do I do when it smells like the can?

Today I was doing a training which involved going over the shelf life of various foods. One woman in attendance incorrectly stated to the entire class that “wheat goes bad easily because it has oil in it, and so it goes rancid if you’re not careful.”

I got to talking to my husband and asked him what other misinformation he may have heard about wheat. Turns out, there sure is a lot of MIS-information out there. So, I decided to help dispel some of the rumors so that you can more confidently store this vital food.

First of all, what IS the shelf-life of wheat?

Wheat does have an oil in it. It’s called vitamin E. It’s what gives the grain some fat content which makes it an even more complete food. (Nice how God is so thorough that way, eh?) In fact, by extracting the oil in wheat, you come up with the expensive oil called Wheat Germ oil. (Very healthy for you, by the way.)  However, oil doesn’t go rancid because of its mere existence. It goes rancid when it’s exposed to oxygen, primarily. 

Storing wheat for 30+ years is a drop in the bucket—excuse the pun. The key is to store it in its whole grain form. I do the same thing with dent corn. I store dent corn in its whole grain form so that I will have plenty of cornmeal on hand when I need it, otherwise just plain cornmeal would go rancid relatively quickly. In the cornmeal stage all of its oil is fully exposed to oxygen. Oil exposed to oxygen is what makes things go rancid. It’s nice that whole dent corn is easy to store for 30+ years. I’d never get that far with cornmeal. The same goes with groats instead of oats. Groats are the “whole” form of oats.  By the way, when you store grains in their whole grain form, you can sprout them—YUMM-MEE.

Use the whole grain Photo c/o uniflour.com

Use the whole grain Photo c/o uniflour.com

The ideal temperature for storing wheat for the longest shelf life is 75 degrees or cooler. However, yes, you can store wheat in a warmer environment so long as it’s packaged well. Ideally you’ve got it in a double-bagged packaging. Or in a bag and then in a bucket. Or better yet, in an number 10 can—although more expensive to buy that way (you can always buy it in the bags and then use a canner). Wheat stored in a Mylar bag in a bucket would be another good method, however, it’s also more expensive than the simple bag or bucket method. So long as you keep your wheat off of a heated cement floor, and out of direct sunlight, you’ll have success in storing it long term. Remember though, the cooler, the better and the easier the wheat will be to work with in your recipes too.

Continuing on with the temperature issue… Keep in mind that wheat was found in the pyramids, and Egypt is NOT known for its cool climate. 🙂 I had someone comment to me recently when I told them this: “yeah, but the deep dark corners of the pyramids are rather cool.” First of all…have you been to a pyramid? It’s flippin’ HOT in there. Sure it’s COOL-ER than outside of it. But it’s not a cool 75 degrees. (Although SOME have been found to maintain 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Why can’t I build my home to do that?!) Second of all, such a statement presumes that the wheat came fresh off of the stem before it was put in the pyramid. *heavy sigh* In other words, it’s presumed that it was never exposed to any heat prior to being placed in the pyramid tombs. As I’ve shared in a previous article, when I lived in the Philippines, they would frequently “dry” their grains by spreading them out on the road for a couple of days. And yes, it is extremely hot and humid in the Philippines, and yet whole grains are the most vital food source they have. Whole grains are just another one of these neat miracles that God has given us to feed us, if you ask me. They are temperamental foods that the majority of the world can’t store without refrigeration.

A metal can is the ideal way to store wheat simply because varmints can’t chew through it. But to be forthright with you, I have very, very little wheat stored this way. Most of mine is in the big, thick, double 50 pound bags. The wheat of my mother’s that we kids moved around for 18 years was also stored this way. I’m sure many of you have parents and grandparents with their wheat stored the same way. Remember, that if you do get little bugs in your wheat, there’s no need to throw it out. Simply put it in 180 degrees for about 20-30 minutes and Voila! You no longer have bugs. You simply have extra protein. (Don’t worry. You’ll get over it.)  

When you open a can of stored wheat it may smell a little “tin-ish.” Don’t worry about that. It’s natural for the ingredients to take on that smell. But the good news is that it’s not permanent. Simply aerate the wheat for a couple of hours outside of the can, and you’ll eliminate that smell just fine.

I don’t mess with buying the more expensive wheat. I almost exclusively store the hard red wheat. It’s more environment- hearty and tolerant to store than the hard white wheat. My bread, pie crusts, and cookies turn out just dandy with the hard red wheat. When selecting your wheat for storage, make sure that it doesn’t have a moisture content higher than 10 percent in order to successfully store it long-term.

Well, I hope this helps answer some of your grainy questions about wheat. (Sorry, I’m in a punny mood today.)

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Fuel photo c/o pgdb.co.nz

Fuel photo c/o pgdb.co.nz

One of the ten areas of emergency preparedness is fuel.  Fuel brings us the much needed light that we will require not only to see, but also to feel good.  It includes any fuel we’ll need for cooking, and the fuel we’ll need for keeping warm.

Before you elect to get a years supply of fuel for these purposes, consider the most basic rules of thumb.

1)     Think safety first

2)     Conserve energy—including yours

3)     Conserve body heat

4)     Confine the heat appropriately

Alcohol photo c/o chemistryland.com

Isopropyl Alcohol photo c/o chemistryland.com

When considering what fuel to store, the safety of it should be your primary concern.  Why store gasoline when you can safely store isopropyl alcohol outside in 55 gallon drums for a lot less money and little risk of combustibility?  (You can usually get free delivery of this alcohol too.)  A few cans of propane is much safer than gasoline, and so is kerosene if stored in a cool, dry place.  Check with your local fire department for maximum storage abilities of these fuels.

Keep in mind that if you store kerosene, Home Depot has a program in which they will buy back your old kerosene after you’ve stored it several years.  They turn around and sell it to the farmers whose diesel engines will still run on it.  To dramatically extend the life of the fuel can, be sure to add a fuel preservative to your gasoline and your kerosene.

If you’re planning on surviving off of firewood, be sure that it’s already cut up—for two reasons.  One reason is to conserve your physical energy.  The last thing you need is to be expending your own energy in the midst of an emergency.  Two, be sure that you don’t have to needlessly use dangerous tools when you’re not fully functional, especially those who may not be familiar with the use of such a tool.  That’s how tragic accidents occur.  What if you are the only one who can chop the wood and you get sick?  What will your family do for fuel?  Try a task that they aren’t as experienced at as you when they’ve had just as much stress and as little nutrition as you?  Definitely not a good idea.

Whatever alternatives of fuel you elect to use, be sure you share the wealth of knowledge on how to use those tools.  One of the most foolish things I see households do is place the majority of the lifesaving information in the hands of one individual.  This is a dangerous supposition that that person will always be around.  Every responsible person in the family should know how to use the propane heater, the pressure cooker, and the alcohol lights, etc.  

Volcano Stove photo c/o barbequelovers.com

Volcano Stove photo c/o barbequelovers.com

When you are considering what tools you’ll use to cook, light, and heat with, consider the cost and accessibility of the fuel the tools will use.  Recently my husband and I purchased a small, collapsible Volcano Stove.  We have lots of means to cook with if necessary, but the price was only $99 and it was a multi-fueled tool.  It will cook off of charcoal, wood, and propane (which also means tightly rolled newspapers, too).  That made it very attractive so that we don’t have to rely on just one fuel for our cooking.  Another cooking tool we have is a kerosene heater that has a grid on the top so while we’re heating our surroundings (with ventilation, of course), we can also be boiling water, or cooking on the same component.  We also have some Joy Cook stoves that are commonly used in Korea.  With only one can of butane and my pressure cooker, I have been able to cook three meals a day on my Joy Cook stove for an entire three weeks.  

Also, consider conserving your fuel as much as possible, especially when you’re cooking.  Once you bring a pressure cooker up to high, you can remove it from the heat, turn off your heat source, and wrap the pressure cooker in towels—it will continue to cook for up to an hour.  That’s a whole lot of fuel-free cooking.  The solar oven is even more fuel-friendly in that regard.  If you have sunshine, you have an oven that will cook anything that you can cook in your regular oven, with the exception of frying.  Better yet, nothing will scorch or burn in your solar oven and the clean up is also a breeze, thus conserving your own physical energy.  This way I’m conserving the majority of my fuel for light and heat instead of just cooking.  I use my pressure cooker and my solar oven on a very regular basis so that I’m familiar with it even in the midst of a crisis, and so that it brings comfort to my family and friends. 

Dutch Oven photo c/o cityweekly.net

Dutch Oven photo c/o cityweekly.net

This leads me to my final reminder in this area of preparedness.  USE that which you are planning on using to survive a crisis.  Use it now when it’s convenient.  Don’t buy it and then stash it away until a crisis hits.  What if it’s not in working order?  What if it’s missing a part?  Also, waiting to use something until the crisis hits will only use up more of your vital physical fuel as you expend a lot of it through stress.  Remember, prepare in comfort of panic in chaos.  For example, if you have a Dutch oven that you’re planning on using in a crisis, great.  But be sure you’ve used it enough before a crisis so that you’re comfortable with it.  Besides, Dutch oven cooking is yummy.  So if you enjoy it now, when it comes time to having to use it, it will feel more like a comfort to your family rather than a science-fiction survival mode.  The more you use these items, the more you can truly be prepared because you will notice parts and components that will make your job easier that you may not have thought of previously.  For example, I use my pressure cooker all the time.  As such, I notice that the rubber seal that goes in the lid of the pan eventually gets old and thus doesn’t seal as well.  So, in the interest of truly being prepared, I’ve stocked up on a surplus of those rubber seals so that when my life is reliant on the proper function of my pressure cookers, I’m not left starving.  

Fuel doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  Ways to keep your family warm and cook for them are usually one-time purchases that will ensure you’ve got a full life beyond, even in the midst of an emergency.  

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Photo by Julia Kalloz

Photo by Julia Kalloz

Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars are regularly spent by Americans on gadgets and gizmos to make their cooking experiences taste better.  Smokers, cedar planks, fancy grills, kitchen appliances, turkey fryers and more are all acquired with the intent to produce that ideal mouth-watering meal.  Given my love of cooking, it’s no wonder my friends constantly accuse me of having every kitchen gadget known to man—er… woman.  So it’s no surprise that I recently acquired yet another gadget, only to discover that not only did it produce the most amazing taste in foods I’ve prepared otherwise, but it was also ideal to use in the event of emergency survival.  No water.  No messy clean up.  No worries of scorching or burning.  No constant monitoring.  And no fuel of any kind is required.  The solar oven is now officially my new cooking nirvana.  

As any reader of my blog knows, I love, love, love the pressure cooker.  It gives me scrumptious foods in a fraction of the time.  So when I need it fast (which I usually do) the pressure cooker wins, hands down.  However, my solar oven will also give me delectable delights while I leave it and forget it, and the resulting taste, even in some of the most innocuous dishes, is incomparable with any other form of cooking.  It provides distinctly unique results to meats, breads, vegetables, rice, pizza, and even brownies!  (In fact, I’ve heard stories of some teenage boys who won’t eat brownies any other way now that they’ve discovered the merits of a solar oven.)

Before I get carried away with the food aspect of the solar oven, let me start with the basic benefits.

Sunshine by Sailorette857

Sunshine by Sailorette857

Obviously, storing a year’s supply of fuel to cook, light, and heat your home in the event of an emergency is not feasible for the majority of Americans.  It can also be hazardous depending on what kind of fuel you’re planning to use.  Thus the limited amount of fuel you are able to store ahead of time will be precious in a time of uncertainty.  However, a solar oven will make use of the FREE fuel God’s provided us, allowing you to divert the majority of your available fuel resources to other needs besides cooking.  You can use a solar oven on any day of the year in which you have full or almost full sunlight, even in the winter.  It makes absolutely no difference what the outside temperature is when you use it.  The majority of your dishes will take only 2 to 4 hours to fully cook.  Your food will never burn or scorch (although baked goods will dry out if left in too long), and you will have effortless clean up afterwards.  (Thereby conserving your physical energy as well—a big plus!)  There is no danger of a fire, and with the exception of frying foods, there’s not much you can’t prepare successfully in a solar oven.

Another very interesting benefit of the solar oven is that it is typically waterless cooking.  That’s right.  If you want to cook a pot roast, simply put in your meat and your seasonings—no water—and allow it to sit in your solar oven for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the roast.  When it’s done, it will simply fall apart into tender pieces, and you’ll have plenty of liquids left over to make scrumptious gravy with.  Much like the concept of a pressure cooker, when you cook in a solar oven, your foods will actually retain more of their nutrients this way, and certainly be more flavorful and tender.  You want to cook vegetables?  No need to water down the nutritional value by adding water.  Simply put them in your container in the solar oven and you will have yummy results a couple hours later.  You can even put corn on the cob still in the husks in your oven, and they will turn out so delicious and tender you may easily do without the salt and butter.  Want “hard-boiled” eggs?  Just put the raw egg in a dry pot in the container Mother Nature provided and let it cook for 1.5 to 2 hours—less time if all you want is a “poached” egg.  Since water weighs more than air, adding water to a dish, such as soup, will actually take longer to cook than even a whole chicken—although soups and such turn out just fine in a solar oven as well.  In fact, the solar oven is ideal for pasteurizing your water for safe cooking and drinking consumption.  (Think of all of the fuel and personal energy you will save by not having to boil your water or treat it with expensive doo-dads!)

Think you’ve got “little friends” in your wheat?  Simply “bake” the grain in your solar oven for a couple of hours, and you’ve got “critter free” grains that are easy to sift out any unwanted guests from.  That’s a heck of a lot better than throwing out the good pasta, rice, beans, and wheat, due to some enemy infiltrators, right?

While you can purchase a wide variety of solar ovens, they are also relatively simple—and definitely affordable—to make.  (see http://solarcooking.org/plans/funnel.htm)  However, to be honest, I prefer to buy mine so that I don’t have to figure out how to make one when I need it most.  After scouring the internet for hours, I found the best value for commercial types right here in Utah.  (Nope, I don’t sell them, but I’m happy to direct you to the source I found that does.  Call Five Star Preparedness at 801-734-9596 to order the right solar oven for you, complete with shipping right to your door.  You can also visit them online at www.fivestarpreparedness.com)

Here are the basic fundamentals of an operating solar oven (not to be confused with a parabolic solar cooker).  Sunlight has to pass through a glazing shield of some sort-usually glass, and then be absorbed by a black interior and black cookware.  The heat rays from the sun are long and thus they cannot escape the oven, so they remain inside.  The reflectors you will use allow for more of the sun’s rays to pass through the glazing layer, increasing the temperature within the cooking chamber as a result. Most solar ovens will get up to 350 to 450 degrees.  Just so you know, any food can cook at 180 degrees or more, it simply will take more time than you’re used to at such lower temperatures. 

To create the preferred “black cookware” to use with your solar oven, all you need to do is spray the outside of a clear glass cooking dish (or even a Mason jar) with BBQ grill black paint.  (You can easily obtain this for about 5 bucks at your local Wal-Mart.)  This paint will not leech any chemicals into your food unless it heats up to 1200 degrees, so it’s safe to use in this instance.  There are also plenty of dark cookware items available in your local stores.  Truth be told, the black cookware isn’t absolutely necessary, but other choices will dramatically slow down your cooking time.

In the event that you are using your solar oven during a prolonged power outage, plan on putting your first dish in the oven in the morning to be ready for lunch, and then putting in your dinner meal after you remove your lunch preparations. Baked goods cook best with the mid-day sun, as opposed to the later afternoon. 

In closing, allow me to highlight some great ways to use your solar oven:

  • Cook (the smaller the food is cut, the faster it will cook)
  • Bake (even bread, muffins, cookies, etc.)
  • Water Pasteurization (You can even obtain a simple water pasteurization indicator)
  • Sanitize dishes/utensils (Conserve your hot water)
  • Eliminate bad enzymes or insects from grains and legumes
  • Conserve energy with easy clean-up
  • Conserve Fuel
  • Conserve Water in cooking
  • Reduce heat in your kitchen during the summer
  • Can goods such as jams, fruits, and veggies
  • Disinfect homemade bandages

And at least 25 more uses that I simply don’t have room for in this blog.  I wholeheartedly encourage you to discover this great way of cooking now. Not only will the flavors and textures be to your liking, but you certainly won’t feel like you’re “roughing it” in the event of an emergency. 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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homemade-bread

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

 

Alright.  You keep being told to store wheat right?  But I bet that you’re wondering what the heck to do with it.  I do address different ways you can use wheat in a previous article, and one of those ways is obviously bread.  Let’s face it.  Bread making in our homes is a lost art.  I forced myself to learn for three reasons.  

 

1) I knew that if there was an emergency which required me to live off of my food storage, I darn well better learn how to make bread out of all of this wheat I was storing.

2) I needed to find some way to introduce hearty wheat into my diet so that I didn’t put my digestive system into shock when I did start living off of it.

3) Even though I could get away with paying only 99 cents for a loaf of bread occasionally, I knew that if I could make it fresh, it would be sooo much better for me and therefore worth it. 

 

 

As it turns out, my decision to learn how to make bread was a good choice for other reasons as well. 

 

 

1) My husband LOVES it, as do the neighbors, my employees, and even me! (Plus, it makes for great gifts)

2) I now have the confidence I need to make it and know that we’ll be just fine surviving on it.

3) I now have a more accurate understanding of what OTHER items I need to have on hand in my food storage.  (Go figure. You can’t just make wheat bread with just wheat.)

4) My quest for learning how to make it has led me to develop a KICK BUTT-No-Fail recipe!  (I never thought I’d be saying that when it came to bread making!) breadsticks

 

So, I’m going to share the recipe with you today.  For those of you who are already pros, I dare say that you’ll find some twists that I incorporate that may be helpful to you.  And at the very least, you will LOVE the breadsticks idea.  For the record, this bread turns out nice and soft even though it’s 100% whole wheat. It’s often been mistaken as “store bought” bread.  (When feeding kids that can be a good thing.)bosch-mixer-whole

 

 

First, let me just share with you—don’t be discouraged by the methods that I use for making my bread just because you may not have them on hand.  I have had ALL of my new-fangled luxuries break down at some point and thus have had to make due with good old fashioned elbow grease.  I use a Bosch Universal Mixer and a Nutrimill to make this easy bread making.  The Bosch does all of my kneading for me, however, I have used my Kitchen Aid mixer instead of my Bosch, but it seemed to be awfully hard on the motor.  You’ve got to have one of the heavy-duty Kitchen Aid mixers if you’re going to make bread in it.  Otherwise you’ll have to knead the bread the good old fashioned way—by hand.  Also, keep in mind that I’m giving you my recipe based on the use of electricity and such.  Obviously, that won’t do you much good if your power is out and you’re camping for a while.  Don’t worry.  If you begin making bread more regularly “in comfort”, then when it comes time to do it under “less than desirable circumstances” you’ll be able to easily adapt, much better than had you never mastered it.  

 

 

Kellene’s Kick-Butt Wheat Bread (and her famous breadsticks)

 

 Ingredients:

 

6 cups of warm water (How do you know it’s warm enough or not too hot?  If it’s warm enough to bathe a baby in without scolding it, then it’s just fine.)

2 T. “Real Salt”

3 T. of Lecithin Granules

2/3 C of Vegetable oil (you can use apple sauce as a substitute)

2/3 C Honey

2 ½ T. of Dough Enhancer (I use the Magic Mill brand which you can usually find in the grocery stores, but definitely locate in your specialty kitchen stores. You can also use lemon juice as a dough enhancer)

12 to 16 C of wheat flour (I grind my own flour for this recipe each time with my Nutrimill—Yes, you can use white flour if you’d like, but you only need to knead the bread about ½ as long)

2 ½ T of Instant Yeast (I use SAF brand and I store the open package in the freezer or the fridge for years)

2 T. Vital Wheat Gluten (Note: ONLY use wheat gluten if your flour is old or a lesser quality wheat.  If you’re using fresh ground wheat or a good quality flour, then you won’t need the wheat gluten.)

 

bosch-mixer02Place 9 cups of freshly ground flour in the mixing bowl with the dough hook attached. Then add 6 cups of warm water.  Mix on speed level 1 until you’ve got a paste consistency.  Turn off the machine and add the yeast, salt, honey, oil, and lecithin granules (and wheat gluten if you’re going to use it).  Turn machine back on to speed 1.  Begin adding additional cups of flour one cup at a time.  As the machine bears down, increase the speed to 2.  Continue adding additional flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  I usually use a total of 15 ½ cups of flour.

 

 

 

Note: Here’s the trick.  You want to make sure that you do not add too much flour.  I like to add just enough so that the dough starts pulling away and that I can handle the dough.  This approach, as well as the lecithin granules and dough enhancer, is the reason why my bread turns out so soft.  Most folks who make homemade wheat bread add too much flour.

 

Set your timer and let the Bosch knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes.  Stop the mixer.  Add the dough enhancer.  Then let the Bosch knead the dough for another 2 minutes (still on Speed 2).  Grease your hands and then gently remove all of the dough from the bowl and place it on a greased cutting board in an even rectangular shape.  Using a knife, score your dough into 5 evenly spaced sections.  Then pinch off each section, form it into an oblong loaf.

 

Note: Pinch your bread dough, not tear it.  Only score your bread so that you can see the 5 sections.  Don’t use the knife to actually cut the sections.

 

Place the loaf in 4 to 5 greased bread pans or you can use non-stick bread pans, depending on the size of loaves you desire.  (I use 5 non-stick bread pans, but I still spray them with “Pam.” They should be about ½ to 2/3 full.)  Place the loaves where they will not be blown on by the air conditioning so that they can rise at room temperature.  Cover the pans with Saran Wrap to keep them moist as they rise.  (I spray the Saran Wrap with “Pam” on the sides that will be on top of the bread to prevent the dough from sticking to the wrap.)  Let the dough rise until doubled.  This should be approximately 1 ½ inches above the top of the pan. When finished rising, place them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes. 

 

When the bread is finished baking, you will be able to tap it lightly on top and have it sound “hollow.”  Take the pans out and place them on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.  Then remove the loaves from the pans and cool on their sides sufficiently prior to storing.  

 

solar-oven-bread-bakedSpecial Note: This recipe makes great rolls as well!  As a special little trick when I’m hosting a party, I take the dough and roll them into small breadsticks (about 4 -5 inches long).  Then I dip the “breadstick dough” into melted butter.  Then I place them on a big cookie sheet about an inch apart from each other.  I then sprinkle McCormick’s Salad Supreme seasoning generously on top of them and bake them at 350 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes.  You will LOVE the taste of these bread sticks!

Preparedness Pro Note: If you would like Kellene Bishop to present an Emergency Preparedness message for your community or church group, please contact us at 801-788-4133.  Ms. Bishop is an experienced speaker and demonstrator on Emergency Preparedness topics and also has created a great “Preparedness Party” platform which makes the learning of such a topic more enjoyable for all.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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