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Ready or Not #56: Thinking of Wheat Outside the Box

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

I hope that everybody has included wheat in his or her food storage (except maybe those you have celiac). I know that everybody is probably rolling their eyes right now; I mean, the wheat thing again? Oh brother. The thing is, wheat is high in protein and nutrients and unless you don’t eat ANY roughage it won’t be as hard on your system as you think it might be. But there are those few that do have problems with wheat, or are allergic to it, and it would be good to find out ahead of time if there is a problem (again, the celiac). Make sure to try the white wheat. A lot of people that don’t tolerate red wheat very well, don’t have any problems with white wheat.

Also, if you have small children or people that are physically unable to eat wheat, then you want to make sure that you have plenty of rice on hand. Brown rice has more nutrients, but white rice stores longer. I prefer the Calrose sticky rice. Please stay away from the instant rice; they just aren’t as good for you and they don’t store as long (and I don’t think they are as tasty either).

The point that I want to make about wheat is that you might want to think outside of the box when using it. If you are ever in a situation, that the only way that you can grind your wheat is by a hand grinder, you might end up using more calories to grind the wheat (depending on your grinder) to make the bread than what you will get in return to fuel your body after you have eaten the bread. For those of us who carry around a little extra food storage naturally, that might not be a bad thing for the first little while, but it could be counterproductive in the long run. This is where thinking outside of the box comes in. Try using your wheat in ways that you might not have considered before. There are other things you can do with wheat than just make bread, and you can even make bread that might be a little less conventional.

Some wheat, depending on what it went through in order to be stored, may or may not be able to sprout. Even if you can’t sprout it, you can always cook the wheat berries and throw them in a salad, add them to soup or use them as a garnish on other foods. You can also eat it as a cereal with a little sugar or honey, and milk. Most of the time you think of wheat cereal as having been cracked first and more of a smooth texture, but it is also good to eat as the whole berry, it is just a little chewier. I rather like it.

Another thing that I have done is developed a different bread recipe. When I first started making whole wheat bread I wondered if the reason that it was too dry was because I put in too much flour before it had time to fully absorb the liquid. I figured that if I could get most of the liquid absorbed before the flour was actually added that it would work better. What I started doing was boiling the wheat berries until they were tender. I would then drain the berries and put them in the blender and blend them with a little milk until they were mush. I then added the salt, sugar, yeast, and oil, and mixed them up together. At the very end I added the rest of the wheat flour that I needed, but only until it held together nicely, I kneaded it for awhile, let it rise, and then baked it.

Basically, I just used my regular bread recipe, with a twist. The bread was actually very tasty and my family really liked it. It is a little heavier than regular bread and it wouldn’t be a good sandwich bread, but it did eat well with soups, or as an open faced sandwich with a spread on it. My husband liked to pour Italian dressing over it and eat it – sort of like the dipping bread with oil and balsamic vinegar, only different.

The thing is, in times that are troubling, and the problem is community wide, you might have to think outside your normal routine when it comes to wheat, that is, if you have a wheat routine. During a disaster, people use more calories than they normally would because there is more to do. You need to consider that if you are putting more calories into fixing your food than you are putting in your mouth, it will eventually catch up to you. This is just bread (food) for thought.


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