Letter Re: Whole Grains Versus Milled Grains for Storage

With regards to food storage, I’ve heard a great deal about people buying buckets of wheat to put away. What would be the feasibility of just cutting out the middle-man and stocking up on baking flour, cornmeal, etc.?
If this were possible it would allow one to forego the price of a grinder and put those funds toward even more foodstuffs. I imagine it would keep pretty well if packed with a good vacuum-sealer and socked away in food grade buckets. What am I missing? – L.C.

JWR Replies: As described in my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, once ground, wheat, corn, and other grains begin to lose their nutritive value almost immediately, and their shelf life is shortened drastically. Once the outer kernel (bran) of a grain is penetrated and the inner germ is exposed, the inevitable degradation begins. Here are some rough storage life figures to consider:

Whole corn: 8 to 12 years. Cracked or ground corn: 18 to 36 months

Whole wheat: 20+ years. Flour: 24 to 36 months

If you were to bake all of your own bread each day, and religiously rotate your supplies of flour and corn meal every 18 months, then I suppose that you could get by without owning a grain mill. But if you want to store more than an 18 month supply of grains, or have extra on hand for barter and charity then the only viable alternative is to buy whole grains and a grain mill.